Very Best of 10cc [Universal UK]

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Given the near-impossibility of compiling a 10cc collection that satisfies both the general fan's demand for hits and highlights and the collector's relentless search for a historical document, the U.K. configuration of The Very Best of 10cc turned up a fascinating selection of cuts, not only trawling through the headline band's own catalog, but reaching back to their earlier incarnation as Hotlegs and forward to former members Kevin Godley and Lol Creme's own career as sporadic hitmakers. The end result, while it will win few prizes for musical coherence, nevertheless offers a second-to-none illustration of the often-manic creativity that percolated within the original quartet. The gulf between the earliest inclusion, Hotlegs' percussive novelty "Neanderthal Man," and the latest, Godley/Creme's lush "Cry," is immeasurable, all the more so when one considers that in between times, the team detoured through the neo-hard rock boogie of "Rubber Bullets," the '50s-flavored "Donna," the cod-reggae "Dreadlock Holiday," the Motown pastiche "Wedding Bells," and the extraordinarily Zappa-esque "Une Nuit a Paris." The fact that the compilation hangs together as well as it does, then, is tribute as much to the timeless invention of its best tracks as it is to the songs themselves. It is notable indeed that the most dated tracks ("I'm Mandy, Fly Me," "Good Morning Judge") are those that really have no purpose beyond a toe-tapping tune, and one must thank the British public for not encouraging this side of the band any more than they did -- compare this version of the album with its lukewarm, 15-track American counterpart for further details.

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