"The Best Of..." 1
Over the years, Colin Miles has put a lot of thought into many fine compilations issued first via Charley Records and later on his own label, See For Miles. Initially he compiled albums from major 60's EMI bands including Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas ("Listen") and this fine offering to Kidd and co. In line with EMI's Starline label the previous UK retrospective to Kidd on had no sleevenotes whatsoever: this release more than redressed the balance by including a copious discography history by Geoff Barker (then of BBC Radio 1's "It's Rock 'n' Roll") AND each tracks' release dates, catalogue numbers, other side, etc. This time around, original mono mixes were used throughout and although there was no previously unreleased material, there was a welcome appearance of the rare "Big Blon' Baby", one of two tracks the band recorded for the 1960 "Saturday Club" compilation, named after the BBC Radio show on which the group appeared. Also included were both the breathtaking "solo" tracks recorded by the Pirates without Kidd, "My Babe" and "Castin' My Spell", both of which which appeared on a single in early 1964.
The mono-only approach was a reflection of gradually changing attitudes to archive material. Record-collecting was starting to take off big time amongst the masses who wanted to hear original recordings in all their glory. The re-issue specialists and, later the big labels began issuing ever- better compilations without electronic stereo separation techniques, which were sometimes clumsy and ruined the original atmosphere of the original mono mix. (Modern fake stereo technology can be quite good but still is never quite the real thing.) This was a worthy release for British fans, although EMI France still managed to out-gun it the same year with their release of the double-LP, "Rocker". That balance would be redressed however, when Colin Miles issued the excellent complimentary "Rarities" LP (still available on CD today).