There are so many Herman's Hermits collections out there now -- including at least two prior "Very Best Of's" from 1980 and 2001 -- that judging the relative worth of all but a tiny handful of them is an exercise in futility; assuming that one avoids re-recordings and stays away from old remasterings (prior to the late '90s), there's going to be some similarity and overlap. That said, this double-CD set does deserve special attention, owing to the fact that it offers a whopping 56 songs in state of the art sound; encompasses every U.S. and U.K. hit single and its B-side, and augments the collection with a few important album cuts -- and all for about the same price as the domestic single-CD collection of the group's work from ABKCO Records. Casual fans may appreciate the range and breadth of this set's programming for the slightly edgier sound that creeps into their work on B-sides such as "For Love" or "My Reservation's Been Confirmed," or simply for the startlingly long chain of excellent 45's represented here. Everything for this Very Best of Herman's Hermits was chosen with the assistance of Peter Noone, and backed up with some good notes by Dave McAleer (although his fudging on the question of instrumental credits -- that "some" of the recordings have musicians other than the group members playing -- gives one pause). The whole package makes an excellent hits companion to Repertoire's expanded reissues of the group's original albums. ~ Bruce Eder
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