"SOME PROS: Finally, a digitally remastered Spanky collection! A mix of broadway-style and cover tunes not found on the 1988 "Greatest Hits" CD really flaunts the incredible diversity and talent of the band. An innovative cover of "Stardust" has a great segue into the eerie bridge of "Like to Get to Know You." And perhaps the best ever showcase of Spanky's vocal talent: A dramatic cover of "Brother Can You Spare a Dime." "Lazy Days" is as ridiculously giddy as ever with it's newly remastered clarity. Good liner notes round out the package (Did you know "Sunday Will Never Be the Same" was first offered to the Mama's and the Papa's?). SOME CONS: The classic studio gab before and after "Sunday Mornin'" has been oddly nixed here. Such memorable tunes as "It's Not Necessarily Bird Avenue," "Three Ways from Tomorrow" and "Commerical" -- all on the last collection -- are missing here, in favor of at least one dud: The title says it all on "Without Rhyme or Reason." And the remastering is a bit inconsistent. "Give a Damn" is now clear as bell, but on other tracks, like "Sunday Mornin'" you won't be able to tell any difference in sound quality from prior versions. CONCLUSION: In the end, it probably should have been a double-CD. But we all know that would have been a tougher sell, and just having the classic tracks remastered with some new variations thrown in is well worth it. Spanky never sounded better. A must-have for any Spanky, Mama's, or 5th Dimension fan."
John Corcoran | SoCal, USA | 05/23/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is a major frustration for a Spanky and Our Gang fan to be forced to shell our [money] to get an import Cd that contains one of their very best songs, Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne." Cohen, a great songwrier, and an acquired taste as a singer, wrote this veritable anthem for the sixties, and it produced at least three brilliant and totally different renditions. Judy Collins had the hit, a straightforward folkie version, perfectly suited for her voice and the general public's taste. Roberta Flack, with the ingenious production/arrangement skills of Deodato, put out a seven minute or so album cut that turns the song into a funky Gospel workout.
And then there was Spanky & Our Gang's version. Utterly different from the first mentioned styles, it had to be heard to be appreciated. Filled with rhythmic shifts, great harmonies, full orchestral backing, and Spanky's soaring, soulful voice, it gave me chills each time I heard it. With the grooves worn off my vinyl copy, I look forward to the day the original Spanky and Our gang's albums are re-released on CD."
TexRex96 | 03/14/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The liner notes are very useful (interesting to learn that Schoolhouse Rock mastermind Bob Dorough shared the lead vocal on "Without Rhyme Or Reason,"), and the cover photos are great, but why is there a picture of the 1975 reunion band included inside! I have to agree that "Byrd Avenue" and "Three Ways From Tomorrow" are sorely missed - and how in the world can you omit "Commercial" from any Spanky and Our Gang CD compilation! It's nice to have "Stardust" and "Anything You Choose," but where are "5 Definitions Of Love," "My Bill," "Leopard Skin Phones," "Jane," and "Since You've Gone?" These (among others), I feel, would have been better choices than some of the other newly-included songs. I also agree that the remastering isn't that special. Perhaps the Japanese reissues of the original albums are the only way to go."
Under-rated vocal talents from an often-overlooked group...
Bryan E. Cummins | Millersville, PA United States | 12/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A nice introduction to one of the more under-rated vocal groups from the '60's. Like other reviewers, I'd like to have seen a 2-disc set, or maybe a box set (wishful thinking, right?)Check out the superior version of "Everybody's Talkin'", and the jazzy "Stardust", which, according to the liner notes, influenced the Manhattan Transfer. Sound quality is also very good. I do miss the very funny "Commercial" from the original greatest hits package, and the hysterical studio chatter on "Sunday Mornin" (The references to Richard Speck and codeine are priceless!)Still, this is well worth purchasing, and serves as a fine introduction to a sorely-missed "gang""
Decent hits comp
Zub | Forks Twp., PA | 04/12/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though a bit on the meager side track count-wise (the 15 here could have easily been 18 or so), this new greatest hits compilation is a modest improvement over the previous collection. It does contain all nine of their top-100 charting singles along with a selection of album cuts. The choice of these additional tracks reflects an attempt to showcase diverse styles of music attempted by the group (mostly Spanky solo actually) with varying degrees of success and appeal. Having been remastered may imply more sonic improvement than is actually realized but it does show, at least on some tracks. The liner notes include three pages of backround on the group and track details, however some carelessness is evident from a mistake repeated three times in the track listings regarding the b-side appearance of "Without Rhyme Or Reason" making one wonder how carefully the entire package was conceived. Nevertheless, this is a competent collection of Spanky and Our Gang's hits but except for the more serious collector, not a critical replacement for the previous compilation CD should you already own that piece."