This generous package from EMI is one of the better Deep Purple compilations. Singles A's & B's focuses on the group's original period of recording (1968-1976) and dutifully collects all the single-oriented highlights from this era, including such hard-rocking classics as "Smoke on the Water," "Black Night," and "Hush." It also includes a number of non-album sides that make the package worthwhile for anyone seriously interested in the group. One of the most surprising aspects of this collection is that the B-sides are often just as good as the A-sides: "I'm Alone" is a hard-swinging rocker worthy of the band's better-known hits and "When a Blind Man Cries" is a wrenching, blues-inflected ballad that is one of group's best slow numbers. The format also allows re-evaluation of Deep Purple's lesser-known material: A great example is "One More Rainy Day," a catchy tune from the group's oft-overlooked late-'60s period that weds a hook-laden pop melody to a combination of flowery organ riffs and Ian Paice's hard-hitting drum fills. The package is rounded out by a comprehensive set of liner notes from Simon Robinson that supplies context and trivia in equal measure in a colorful layout full of rare single sleeve images. All in all, Singles A's & B's works both as a comprehensive primer on Deep Purple's heyday and also as a consistent double album's worth of well-crafted hard rock.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco