Strawberries Mean Love
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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, 27 November 1995
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- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 12.5 x 14.1 x 1.19 cm; 98.09 Grams
- Manufacturer : BIG BEAT UK
- Manufacturer reference : CDWIKD56
- Original Release Date : 1995
- Label : BIG BEAT UK
- ASIN : B0000004E3
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: 13,134 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
- Customer Reviews:
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For a little more money, this 21-track CD compilation is a better deal than its American counterpart (One Way's Anthology), offering a slightly more extensive selection and extensive liner notes, and including almost all of the cuts contained on Anthology. Drawn from their four albums (with the accent, properly, on the first two), it also has a clutch of non-LP singles. "Incense and Peppermints" and the small follow-up hit, "Tomorrow," are by far the best things on here; much of the rest is trendy period pop/psychedelia, sounding at various times like a bush-league Doors, or a really spaced-out Association, with a bit of garage raunch tossed in on the B-side of "Incense" ("The Birdman of Alkatrash"). The two hits were included on Rhino's Nuggets compilations, which might be a better context in which to appreciate the group's fairly minimal contributions to psychedelia. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
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Their first LP shared its title with the hit single. This CD includes 7 (out of 10) songs from the debut. They reveal a band who could play extremely well, though their vocals aren't quite as strong. I enjoy the various voices, which adds a bit of ragged charm to the proceedings, in my opinion. The tracks from this LP are pretty indispensable, but my favorites are Paxton's Back Street Carnival, Birds in my Tree, and the stunning 8 minute psych classic The World's On Fire.
The follow-up LP, Wake Up...It's Tomorrow, is even better than their debut. I feel Big Beat gave their sophomore effort short shrift by including only 5 tracks on this compilation. They are all stunners (especially the dreamy single Tomorrow and Pretty Song From Psych-Out)but some of the finest SAC tracks are ignored. In my opinion, including 1/3 of the Black Butter trilogy is a misstep. Listen to all three (Black Butter Past, Present and Future)on You Tube and see what I mean. At just over 64 minutes, there is definitely room for all three!
The third LP is represented by only three songs, the best of which is Love Me Again, featuring some superb lead guitar. The other 2 are mellow pop, not bad but pretty slick, lacking the bite of their better early material. By this time, Uni (their original record company, soon to morph into the dreaded MCA) was forcing it's will on the band, both with material and personnel matters. There were a couple of decent tracks on the last album (Good Morning Starshine)but the sound had changed considerably. Jimmy Pitman was the new singer, and his style was far away from the vocal sound of the first three LPs. The strongest song from this era is Small Package, with its lovely baroque flourishes.
The last three songs on Strwberries Mean Love are pretty weak filler, all the more maddening considering what was left off of the Wake Up album. Still, this is the finest Strawberry Alarm Clock collection we are likely to see as CDs are slowly phased out. Despite my minor quibbles, what is here is quite excellent.
I am happy to see the SAC reformed and playing gigs again. They also did a new CD a couple of years back, and it's very worthwhile. As with the Electric Prunes, the fact that these guys are still around doing what they love is cause for celebration, and the perfect antidote to the bitterness left by record company machinations that ruined things for these bands back in the 60s.