Anyone looking for a convenient summation of Louis Philippe's early years on the El label will find that Claret, named after his favorite tipple, fits the bill quite nicely. Most aspects of his work, from the pure pop of "You Mary You" to the elegant intricacies of "Fires Rise and Die," are well represented. To tempt the completist there is one track, unavailable elsewhere, in the form of "Telephone Box," a somewhat labored version of a song by the little-known Manchester poet Edward Barton. A rarity more worth having is Philippe's own version of a song written for the King of Luxembourg called "The Rubens Room," previously available as a B-side and on various compilations, whose languid beauty belies the fact that it was written to order on the basis of a title supplied by El label boss Mike Alway. Also included is "The Red Shoes Ballet Suite," a brief instrumental taken from the album Philippe wrote for El stablemate Anthony Adverse, but sadly rendered unlistenable by the archaic string synthesizer on which it is played.
AllMusic Review by Christopher Evans