Greatest - The Singles Collection
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||Liar||Argent||3:12||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Schoolgirl||Argent||3:26||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Dance In the Smoke||Argent||6:20||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Sweet Mary||Argent||3:12||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Lothlorien||Argent||7:53||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Pleasure||Argent||4:54||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Celebration||Argent||2:55||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Cast Your Spell Uranus||Argent||4:32||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Hold Your Head Up||Argent||3:17||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Be My Lover, Be My Friend||Argent||5:20||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||I Am the Dance of Ages||Argent||3:44||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Tragedy||Argent||3:34||£0.59||View in iTunes|
||God Gave Rock and Roll to You||Argent||3:22||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||It's Only Money, Pt. 2||Argent||3:36||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Man for All Reasons||Argent||3:06||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Thunder and Lightning||Argent||3:32||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||The Jester||Argent||3:39||£0.99||View in iTunes|
||Time of the Season (Live)||Argent||6:41||£0.99||View in iTunes|
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.
Argent's career is faithfully covered by this collection, from their debut album (which fused Zombies' Rod Argent with Russ Ballard's Unit Four Plus Two) to the sad end of Argent when Ballard left and Rod Argent explored jazz-rock themes. This comprehensive selction reveals the strengths and weaknesses of the Argent project. When Russ and Rod pulled together they were respnsible for some great work. The first two albums - Argent and Ring of Hands - had unique energies and some of their bext work. More commercial work from All Together Now brought them some attention and success, but their work became more diverse: rocky (and occasionally trite) from the pen of Ballard and brilliant and indulgent by turns from Rod Argent. In Deep was a great album but it was down hill from there until it all spluttered out with the arrival of punk. Sad because this was the music I grew up with. I love it and am frustrated in equal measure because Argent had the potential to be truly great but somehow they just missed their opportunity. See the Zombies live to see what might have been.
Formed: 1969 in England
Years Active: '70s, '80s