Ultimate Collection

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For a band whose useful lifespan ran to nine albums, 10cc have been oddly represented by the compilations market. Their first two albums, of course, have been reissued and rejigged in virtually every conceivable permutation; the next four have at least been bled for the hits on a near-annual basis. But a super-rare Japanese four-CD box set notwithstanding, no attempt has ever been made to truly illustrate the band's entire career, from "Donna" to demise. Welcome, then, The Ultimate Collection, which not only does a fine job in unearthing all you need to know about those nine original albums, it also splits the discs in such a way that the first one gives you all the hits you remember, while the second serves up the songs that you very likely missed altogether. And a third, by way of a frustratingly incomplete bonus, pads on a few stray Godley-Creme and Wax hits, to remind us what three of the members did next. It's a worthy approach that suffers primarily through the indeed declining quality of the music. The latter-day 10cc did not stop having hits because the times had changed, and fashions shifted -- the group's last hit, "Dreadlock Holiday," landed as late as 1978. They stopped having hits because they stopped writing them, and disc two simply bristles with great ideas, executed poorly. There are some fun moments to be had, and anyone with even an ounce of respect for what 10cc originally achieved does it owe it to themselves to play the package through at least once. But if you already own your favorite 10cc records, this collection will give you nothing more that you need.

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