Tymon Dogg is most known for his association with the Clash, particularly the Clash's Joe Strummer. He has a long if sporadic recording history, however, that predates the Clash's by quite a bit, though his own efforts have never grabbed too much of the spotlight. This 19-track CD samples from cuts he's done over a period of about 40 years, starting with both sides of the 1968 single he did as a teenager, when he was known as Timon. Though Dogg (which he'd eventually take as his last name) is an interesting artist who's had associations with several famous rock stars (including, long before the Clash, Paul McCartney and the Moody Blues), his wavering voice and quirky songs are simply too odd, and too much of an acquired taste, to get the sort of wide audience some of his more successful friends commanded. This compilation's a little frustrating to evaluate as dates and sources aren't given for many of the tracks (though the liner notes are otherwise quite detailed), but there's certainly substantial evolution from the Timon single, which is about as twee as late-'60s British storybook psychedelic pop got (as listeners of the Nuggets 2 box set will remember, since that collection included the A-side, "Bitter Thoughts of Little Jane"). A couple of other tracks ("Something New Every Day" and "Who Needs a King") seem to date from that time, but Dogg toughened up his sound to some degree as time went on, even if his strangle-warble sometimes sounded like an Incredible String Band vocal that somehow landed in a different, not wholly sympathetic setting. After those four early tracks, however, you can hear what would have attracted Strummer to Dogg's music. There's an uncompromising, if sometimes yowling, approach that was honest if not always accessible, tackling difficult subjects in both the personal and social realm. While not much of this is exactly catchy, it draws from various strains of folk from the U.K. and elsewhere in a rawer, more confrontational manner than most singer/songwriters connected to the rock and pop scene, even in the tenuous ways that Dogg was. At times he sounds like a Northern English street busker who's gotten some studio time and laid down his stuff in a fairly undiluted dose. The production rarely adds anything elaborate, and though he's primarily a guitarist, songs on which he switches to piano add welcome variety. An interesting if challenging listen, but it's unfortunate the sources of these tracks aren't always spelled out; though some of the songs did appear on his three '80s solo albums, others of undisclosed origin are apparently making their first appearance here. Note that the 1970 single he did on the Moody Blues' Threshold label was not included for licensing reasons, though one of the songs from the 45, "I'm Just a Travelling Man," is present via a 2009 remake.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger