This 30-song CD is about as much Hep Stars material as anyone outside of Sweden (or the biggest ABBA fanatic) will ever need. From their first single, "Kana Kapila," cut before Benny Andersson joined the group, to their final releases (sung by Lotta Hedlund), it's all here, and it's not bad. The band was heavily influenced by British beat groups of the period, going back before the Beatles, as well as American folk-rock and the U.K. and U.S. folk revivals. Much of this material is an acquired taste, as the band's versions of English-language rock & roll tend to have the stiffness of all phonetic (or, at least, foreign) recordings of English, and a lot of the posturing (check out "Farmer John") is overstated to the point of burlesque. But their version of "If You Need Me" is played nicely and emoted convincingly, and their version of "Cadillac" is hot in any language, with a scintillating performance on organ by Andersson. The Hep Stars also had a cheerfully wide range of rock & roll in their repertory, from covers of Ritchie Valens ("Donna"), Chad & Jeremy ("Should I"), and Ray Davies material, to Leiber & Stoller ("Don't") and Ian Tyson ("Four Strong Winds," sung in Swedish). Special occasion songs such as "Wedding" and "Christmas on My Mind" are also included, making this a good overview of the band's work. The sheer breadth of material, however, may work against many listeners appreciating the group: it's hard to imagine anyone who enjoys "Cadillac" sitting still for the later, softer, pop-oriented songs toward the end of this disc. The sound is decent if a little bit bass-heavy, but Andersson's organ is well showcased. The notes are in Swedish, of course.
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder