Although it was rendered obsolete by the release of the superior The Dust Blows Forward: An Anthology, this career retrospective is noteworthy for a few reasons. It concentrates exclusively on Beefheart's work for Virgin -- Unconditionally Guaranteed, Blue Jeans and Moonbeams, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), Doc at the Rader Station, Ice Cream for Crow, and the Light Reflected Off the Oceans of the Moon EP -- so it may interest people who already own Trout Mask Replica and want to get only one more Beefheart album, as well as those who have difficulty finding his aforementioned Virgin releases. Also, the compilation intersperses brief snatches of Beefheart's songs in between the 18 complete songs on this album -- mostly spoken word excerpts from "Apes Ma," "Hey Garland, I Dig Your Tweed Coat," "Cardboard Cutout Sundown," ""8!" Poop Hatch," "Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee," "Party of Special Things to Do," and "Flavor Bud Living." This appears to be an unsuccessful attempt to make this compilation seem more like a cohesive album by recreating the informal ambience of Trout Mask Replica; most people will probably find it annoying, but some may enjoy it. Otherwise the album contains numerous good songs but omits some of Beefheart's best material from his Virgin period, such as "Ashtray Heart" and "Hot Head."
AllMusic Review by Todd Kristel