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While the eclectic nature of this Japanese compilation might not qualify it as a definitive "best of," both casual fans and earnest enthusiasts are well served by Transmissions (2004). In addition to gathering undisputed classic entries such as "Me and the Boys," "Wacky Tobacky," "Ain't It Alright," and "You Can't Hide," there are also deeper album cuts and ten previously unreleased sides. Each incarnation of NRBQ is represented, although some more thoroughly than others. Among the notable offerings featuring the earliest aggregate with Frankie Gadler (vocals) and Steve Ferguson (guitar/vocals) is the unissued "Now I See" circa the Eddie Kramer-produced Workshop (1972). There is comparatively plenty of material from the "classic" 22-year lineup boasting guitarist and vocalist "Big" Al Anderson (1972-1994). His compositions "Ridin' in My Car" and "Never Take the Place of You" and his collaboration with Terry Adams (keyboards/vocals) on "Captain Lou" are but a few of his significant contributions to the combo's repertoire. One unmitigated highlight is a formerly vaulted version of the R&B standard "12 Bar Blues" led by Anderson's emphatic string work and vocals. Joey Spampinato's (bass/vocals) brilliant pop-oriented songwriting is epitomized on "Mona," "Only You," the aforementioned "You Can't Hide," as well as with his brother Johnny Spampinato on "Goodbye." And what NRBQ anthology would be possible without the melodic madness of Terry Adams. An alternate take of "Over Your Head," the undeniably Thelonious Monk-influenced "Just Close Your Eyes and Be Mine Ruby," the hum-happy "Hobbies," and a rare studio reading of the rockabilly hairdo hop "Tired of Your Permanent" are some examples of Adams' fundamental involvement within the Q. Transmissions may be a bit pricey, yet inclined consumers are given a fair lot for their loot.

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