Inaugurating Union Square's much-praised series of Slade reissues and compilations, this single-disc gathering of the band's first two albums represents one of the must-have bargains of the CD age, two solidly excellent albums that were surely combined only because both are so underrated that they might otherwise have been lost. Representing the band as it struggled to come to grips with its own talent, with the Noddy Holder/Jim Lea songwriting team of the future more likely to be supplanted by Lea and Don Powell, 26 tracks round up both LPs, plus two non-album singles, "Wild Winds Are Blowing" and the debut hit "Get Down and Get with It." There is little here that will strike an immediate chord with listeners who know only the hits. Dig deeper, however, and any number of Slade classics are on hand, beginning with Beginnings' opening instrumental, "Genesis" -- which reappears later in the set as Play It Loud's "Know Who You Are." "Dapple Rose," "One Way Hotel," "Pouk Hill," and covers of "The Shape of Things to Come" and "Journey to the Centre of Your Mind" are all dynamite, with the originals as indicative of the band's innate ear for a melody and the covers representing Slade at their floor-shaking, foot-stamping hardest. The excellent packaging includes a picture-packed booklet, fun liner notes, and illustrations of all the original 45s and albums that you are unlikely ever to collect for yourself. And the rest of the series is just as good as this one.
AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson