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The Best of the Rubettes

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Album Review

A straightforward summary of the seven (out of eight) Top 30 hits enjoyed by the Rubettes between 1974-1976, rather obviously intended as a farewell to what had once ranked among the most effervescent hitmaking machines of the age. How premature — just months later, the Rubettes bounced back with the tremendous "Baby I Know" and scored their biggest hit since "I Can Do It" two long years before. One cannot blame the powers that be, however, for thinking the band was over. Since they first emerged in a flurry of semi-Showaddywaddy rock & roll retro-isms and the chart-topping "Sugar Baby Love" in May 1974, the Rubettes' career had been moving slowly backwards all the time; the sugar-baby sound-alike "Tonight" peaked at a meager number 12 in the U.K., while just two further singles even breached the Top Ten: "Jukebox Jive" and "I Can Do It."; "Little Darling" and "You're the Reason Why" had barely scraped the Top 30. But the Rubettes were always worth far more than their singles discography insisted — their first three albums, at least, stand alongside any of the bands that the mid-'70s media was regularly appointing "the next/new Beatles," even if the Rubettes themselves were never dropped into that same bag (blame snobbery: People heard the hits and dismissed them as valueless. They never even bothered playing the LPs). A handful of album cuts included here begin to state that case, and "Baby I Know" would confirm it, for anybody who cared. But the new age of the Rubettes, ushered in by that release, has no part to play in the story told here — instead, sit back and marvel at just how effortlessly "Sugar Baby Love" and "I Can Do It" still roll back the years, and the jukebox jive comes alive once more. Yeah, they really could do it.

The Best of the Rubettes, The Rubettes
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