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Greatest - The Singles Collection

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Album Review

The title of this collection of Argent's music is somewhat deceiving since only 10 of the 18 tunes were 45s. Those songs are presented in their rare single edits and mixes, though, which makes this a necessary addition to Argent collections since they're hard to find in the digital age. Eight more popular and representative album tracks are added to max out the playing time and provide a well-rounded overview of the U.K. quartet's relatively short run from 1970 through 1975. There is only one inclusion from the two albums released after primary singer/songwriter/co-founder Russ Ballard left for a solo career in 1975, both of which were commercial and artistic disappointments. Argent — the band — had an unusually eclectic career, touching on the Zombie-fied pop of Ballard's dreamy "Schoolgirl" to the anthemic harder pop/rock of "Hold Your Head Up" (here in its tight 3:18 edit), and "God Gave Rock and Roll to You," Rod Argent's keyboard-driven prog of "Lothlorien," and the gutsy thump of "It's Only Money, Pt. 2" that effectively combined all of the above songs and quoted from Motown, too. Considering the mixture of styles, the songs flow together unusually well and feel like the work of a unified band with a vision, albeit a diverse one. While some would argue that Argent was an album act whose approach didn't translate well out of the context of the original sets, this compilation flows surprisingly well. It also resurrects excellent, missed-chance singles such as the pounding, militaristic beat of the Yes-styled "Man for All Reasons" one of Ballard's few political songs. A live "Time of the Season" extends and bolsters Rod Argent's Zombies' hit and shows how powerful this quartet was in concert, even if their sole live album wasn't a particularly well-recorded document of their on-stage prowess. The remixed sound is another bonus, making this a terrific summation of an influential and creative outfit too often pegged as a one-hit wonder.

Biography

Formed: 1969 in England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s

After the Zombies broke up, keyboardist/songwriter Rod Argent formed his own band in 1969, which incorporated more classical, jazz, and art rock influences in accordance with Argent's musical training. The group's other members were guitarist/songwriter Russ Ballard, bassist Jim Rodford, and drummer Bob Henrit. Argent's first two albums, Argent and Ring of Hands, received a fair amount of critical acclaim, but their real breakthrough came with 1972's All Together Now, which contained the Top Five...
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Greatest - The Singles Collection, Argent
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