This collection of 1965-1968 material, taken from rare regional singles along with a couple of previously unreleased tracks, is far removed from the Ides of March's horn-rock era (as heard on their 1970 hit "Vehicle"), both chronologically and stylistically. When they started, the Ides were a Chicago teen band, recording mostly original songs heavily influenced by folk-rock and the British Invasion, although a few of these cuts do use brass. In general that's good news (and preferable to the horn-rock of their later career), but the harmony-heavy pop/rock of this early work isn't too exciting. In common with several other groups from the Chicago and Midwest areas, the group favored a rather clean-cut, Americanized take on British Invasion bands like the Beatles and the Hollies, though the folk-rock of the Byrds is heard in the guitar arrangements especially. The local Chicago hits "You Wouldn't Listen" (which made number 42 nationally) and "Roller Coaster" are here, but to be tough about it, there's not enough light and shade here to put the Ides on the level of good British Invasion bands, or even of good British Invasion-influenced bands from the same region, such as the New Colony Six. More to the point, there's too much light and not enough shade; although the harmonies are fairly impressive and the execution polished, the material is too often sunnily bland. The great exception to that is the riveting, raw folk-rocker "I'll Keep Searching," buried on a B-side, which has great bittersweet melodic hooks, melancholy harmonies, and dramatic stop-start tempos. The disc includes two 1965 songs that they recorded as the Shondels on a super-rare self-released 45, as well as the previously unreleased originals "One and One Does Not Make Three" and "I'll Take You Back." The latter of these, an uncommonly moody tune, is actually a highlight of the collection.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger