The Turtles

Twenty Five Classic Hits

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Twenty Five Classic Hits Review

by Bruce Eder

There's no shortage of fine compilations of the Turtles' music -- the key is what one is looking for. This compilation, for example, assembled by Repertoire Records in 1993 (and reissued in 2002), is very different from Rhino's two volumes of the group's hits conceived back in the 1980s. Where the latter tried for chronological sequencing, this CD zigzags across 66 minutes of the group's history, jumbling up singles and album tracks and psychedelic, folk-rock, and satiric sides of the Turtles' work into a whole that's surprisingly illuminating, on one particular level. Without some mental juggling, it's unlikely that the listener will discern the group's development, but the Turtles' range comes through loud and clear along with the music, which is exceptionally well mastered. On the literal historical front, Mark Brennan's notes cover the group's story from before the beginning to after the end, tying up some of the loose ends inherent in the scattershot programming of the CD. It's all very impressive fun -- any Turtles collection that includes "Surfer Dan" is sort of a given in the wit department -- and the transitions make the whole more interesting than the individual parts, as the focus shifts effortlessly between sunshine pop, goofy and sometimes spaced-out psychedelia, folk-rock, and satirical pop/rock.