The Hot Ones!/Try It
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One good thing about '60s garage punk music is that when it is done right, it's so fast that you plunge right through it -- in that sense, it's a lot like rockabilly music; and with brevity like that, if a band is any good, there's only so much that even the occasional clinker can mar the listening experience. The two Standells albums represented here total out at barely an hour of listening time for 20 tracks, and nothing lingers, and as it happens, the Standells were generally really good at what they did. In this instance, on The Hot Ones they're applying their energetic and crunchy brand of music-making to songs that can take it (even if, in the case of, say, "Wild Thing," they hardly need it). The music off The Hot Ones holds up a bit better than that from Try It, though their soul-based efforts on the latter don't seem that bad today, especially surrounded as they are by some pretty good psychedelic punk material -- it might not have been what the group was about, or even what they were terribly good at, but you've probably heard lots worse from bands out of this period, and they sound like they're really trying. The good sound on this CD helps, of course, and the presence of "Riot on Sunset Strip" and the title track carry the rest, which -- except for "St. James Infirmary," which should have been abandoned -- doesn't really need that much help. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi
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Irwin's mono remixes are generally excellent and true to the material - some have studio chatter and/or extended fades - but he made the curious decision to mix the "Try It" album to mono, even though the original LP was never available in mono; that kind of bugs me, especially since that album has some nice stereo action (but suffers from distortion on the original stereo mix).
Most if not all of the bonus tracks found on the Sundazed CDs are gathered on Big Beat's "Riot On Sunset Strip/Standells Rarities" CD, and many of them feature unique stereo mixes probably done specifically for that release.
So... your CD choices are: original vintage mixes, warts and all, and mostly stereo (Big Beat CDs) or mono remixes, 'cleaner' sound but less authentic (Sundazed CDs). For this fan, both sets are essential, but the Big Beat is my go-to disc because I prefer the "Try It" album in its original stereo format.