The Definitive Collection

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This 23-song collection offers a very good profiling of the star-crossed career of underrated British hard rockers Stray, sampling songs from their five studio albums released by the Transatlantic label, as well as the subsequent trio through Pye, before their original demise in 1976. Interestingly, although disc one justifiably busies itself with the task of picking off a pair of highlights from each of these records in chronological order, disc two contains the band's first, eponymous album, remastered in its entirety -- a reasonable decision considering it had not yet been unearthed during the CD era, and is, by general consensus, probably their best ever (aren't the first ones always the best?). And since disc one's well-intentioned -- but inevitably flawed and much debated -- selection of tracks couldn't possibly cover all the bases and please everyone (omitting such classics as "Son of the Father" and "Hallelujah," to name just a pair), this two-disc set would be supplanted in short order by the more complete 35-song Time Machine: Anthology 1970-1977, which arrived in stores just one year later.

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