Although this 29-song compilation was the best Lords CD to have hit the market at the time of its release in 2001, it's not without its demerits. The Lords' best period by far was 1964-1966, and although the first half of this disc covers highlights of that time reasonably well, there's a fair bit of tough-to-bear rock & roll-cum-German drinking oom-pah music in the 1967-1969 portion. Still, among the early stuff are some fine (if eccentric), heavily accented covers of both rock & roll tunes and rocked-up folk and pop standards. The 1966 singles "What They Gonna Do" and "Don't Mince Matter" highlighted their too-infrequent forays into tough original British mod-influenced rock, and are as good as almost anything on the internationally minded Nuggets II box set (which, inexplicably, has nothing by the Lords). And as hard as it is to admit for those put off by crummy later drinkalong singles like "Have a Drink on Me," "John Brown's Body," and "Gloryland" (all on this disc, unfortunately), the Lords did cut some good stuff in the late '60s that's included here. "Rain Dreams" is outstanding Who-derived mod rock; "Fire" is cool, if weird, disquieting horn rock-psychedelia; "The World Is Falling Down" is a nearly demented slice of upbeat pop-psych with mordant lyrics; and poppier tunes like "Gypsy Boy" and "And at Night" have their good points. As for the rarities mentioned in the title, there are Italian versions of "Greensleeves" (with a flatulently produced backing track different, and inferior, to that on the English-sung original) and "Gloryland," neither of them exactly essential listening, though the "Five or Six" Pepsi commercial from 1969 (based around the riff from Mel Tormé's "Comin' Home Baby") is quite hip. Nonetheless, this does omit numerous worthwhile early B-sides (the exclusion of "No One Knows," one of their very best mod-ish outings , particularly hurts) and LP tracks; there's certainly room for a more thorough retrospective of the band's early years, if Bear Family or someone else is up for it. Incidentally, this album might also show up under another title listed on the sleeve, Smash...! Boom...! Bang...!: The 60s Anthology; the 56-page booklet of liner notes has abundant text with quotes and vintage group photos and picture sleeves, though unfortunately for English speakers, it's all in German.
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