The Equals

First Among Equals: The Greatest Hits

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This two-CD, 40-song compilation is not so much a greatest hits as a lengthy retrospective. In any case, the designation "greatest hits" is pushing it in the U.S., where only "Baby Come Back" (included here, of course) made the Top 40. Forty songs might seem like too much, but actually it should be your first choice, because of both its consistent quality and the consideration that it's more available, and no more expensive, than whatever other Equals compilations you might find (which will invariably be imports). Much of this is good-time romantic rock-soul-ska, occasionally lifting or varying some well-known soul and rock riffs, sometimes with a touch of British mod rock (as on "I Can See, But You Don't Know" and "Fire"). Political and racial concerns occasionally make themselves known (as on "Police on My Back," covered by the Clash, and the British hit "Black Skin Blue Eyed Boys"); even more occasionally, there is a spacy lyricism ("Give Love a Try," "Reincarnation," "Let's Go to the Moon"). Interesting, accomplished (if sometimes too similar-sounding) stuff from Eddy Grant's formative years, though it's marred by the almost total absence of details about the Equals' career in the liner notes.

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