Sweet's earliest recordings -- the clutch of 45s issued in the U.K. and Europe between 1968 and 1971 -- made it out in a variety of forms in the years following the band's initial breakthrough. Strangely, however, it was not until 1991 -- a full 20 years after "Funny Funny" gave them their long-awaited first hit -- that the entire canon was pulled together, as Repertoire raided the vaults not only of Fontana and Parlophone, the band's first two labels, but also visited some less-familiar directions as well. The bulk of First Recordings 1968-1971 -- tracks one through eight -- comprises all four original singles, a mixed bag that ran from the unadulterated pop of "Lollipop Man" and "Slow Motion" to the convincing harder rock of "The Juicer." None have much in common with anything that Sweet would become -- Andy Scott had still to join the band at this time, leaving guitar duties on the first three singles to predecessors Frank Torpey and Mick Stewart. The enjoyably lightweight "Get on the Line," meanwhile, was the first band release on which Connolly's vocal was accompanied by sessionmen. Of course, it would not be the last. Of the remainder, the quintessentially late-'60s bubblegum pop of "The Spider," "I'm on My Way," and "My Little Girl From Kentucky" also feature Connolly alone, having been recorded as mere guide vocals for a now-forgotten band he met in the studio around 1968, while "Question" dates back to Connolly and Tucker's stint with Wainwright's Gentlemen and is most notable for its songwriting credits. Connolly's predecessor in the band, Ian Gillan, composed the song with bandmate (and fellow future Deep Purple stalwart) Roger Glover (under the pseudonym R David). It's an intriguing collection, then, and a grand value for the committed Sweet collector. Less-specialized tastes, however, will probably find a lot more interesting collections to pick up before turning their attention to First Recordings 1968-1971.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson