Rolling Stone - 5/24/01, p.904 stars out of 5
- "...God bless the BBC....For initiates, this is an exellent primer; for supplicants who have endured the band's desultory live albums in recent years, it's an embarrassment of riches."
Mojo (Publisher) - 4/01, p.90
"...Like any successful collection, these sessions send you back to the original records and make you want more....the 1st CD represents the group at the height of their powers....If you enjoy [their] concept period, you'll enjoy the second disc..."
The Kinks: Ray Davies (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, harmonica, piano, organ); Dave Davies (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars); John Gosling (acoustic & electric pianos, organ); Pete Quaife (bass, background vocals); Mick Avory (drums).
Additional personnel includes: Alan Holmes (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Michael Rosen (trumpet); John Beecham (trombone, tuba); Nicky Hopkins (piano, organ, Mellotron); Claire Hamill, Maryann Price, Pam Travis (background vocals).
Producers include: Keith Bateson, Jimmy Grant, Paul Williams, Bob Conduct, Tony Wilson.
Compilation producer: Steve Hammonds.
Recorded at various BBC Studios, London, England. Includes liner notes by Russell Smith and Doug Hinman.
Digitally remastered by Ray Davies & Andy Pearce (January 2001, Masterpiece).
Is it possible that the early Kinks could be even rawer and more exciting in BBC halls than on their known Pye Records recordings? Sometimes yes, otherwise very nearly. A few of these -- notably a breathless rave-up of Bo Diddley's "Cadillac" -- are indeed even more spark-ridden than the LP versions. Most of the merely curious will delight in new looks at the punishing stomp of the original blockbuster 1964 hits "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All the Night." Likewise, this is like hearing "Tired of Waiting," "Till the End of the Day," "Days," and a faster-paced "Love Me 'Til the Sun Shines" for the first time, the feeling is still so powerful in such fresh looks at seminal creations. And for the ardent fan, it's the procession of little differences and inspired takes that quietly push the tingle buttons -- especially as one gets deeper into disc one. You note an unexpected piano on "Waterloo Sunset" by Nicky Hopkins, on a louder version that's as unusual as it is different from the 1967 pinnacle hit. And how about that deeper guitar chime on the pioneering Eastern flavor of "See My Friends"? Those who bought the bootlegs always raved about the great, lost, unreleased pop gem "Strange Effect"; this is the only Kinks version, yet its been covered over and over. Disc two is greatly diminished if still often worthy. Don't miss the ripping "Mindless Child of Motherhood," typically pretty versions of "Celluloid Heroes" and "Holiday," and the great lost Kinks album, comic-touching "When I Turn off the Living Room Lights." But it's disc one that you need. The wonder is that half of the band's '60s sessions are sadly not extant, yet the first 19 tracks are indispensable. ~ Jack Rabid