The Gerry & the Pacemakers volume of As Bs & EPs is as close as EMI has come to treading on the territory of its licensee, See for Miles Records, in terms of programming a compilation. Colin Miles has made much hay out of compilations like this, and it was only a matter of time before the owners of the sides got their own in. The sound is excellent, up to the latest standard (not that any of the competition was too lacking), and it is handy to hear the group's work this way, since they only ever issued one official LP (How Do You Like It), their work otherwise confined to singles and EPs, plus the soundtrack Ferry Cross the Mersey. It's pleasant, upbeat, melodic, Liverpool-style rock & roll, with a slightly greater emphasis on country music than the Beatles, and a leaner guitar sound that was balanced by a regular keyboard (courtesy of Les Maguire) -- between the A- and B-sides, one usually got a good dose of the range of popular sounds as they were perceived in 1963-65, and in this incarnation, one will hear the sound of Les Chadwick's bass. A much wiser way of doing a compilation on these guys might've been to assemble all of their EPs' contents in order, which would have delineated their history; as it is, things are pretty threadbare going into 1965, when the group released some of their hardest-rocking sides, and their only official live recording, Gerry in California. This disc is what it is, a cash-in around a vague concept, not profound -- nor was this music ever supposed to be -- but a whole lot of fun, as far as it goes, but superfluous. The biggest problem for most people will be the addition of yet another Gerry & the Pacemakers compilation to choose from, among the several out there. The notes are a little sparse and generic, saying little or nothing about the specific songs here.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder