This low-priced two-CD set from Holland is a nice idea executed reasonably well, a sort of low-rent version of the more expensive and thorough domestic Creeque Alley compilation, combining 24 of the group's singles in release order along with solo sides by Cass Elliot, John Phillips, and Michelle Phillips. For reasons best understood by the producers, Denny Doherty's solo career was ignored in compiling this 42-song collection. Not ignored was the sound quality, which is very good, making use of the most recent remasterings of the group's repertory. Doherty's voice benefits particularly from the digital remastering of "Monday, Monday" -- as does the playing by P.F. Sloan et al. There aren't any revelations here, although the compilation does extend to songs from the oft-overlooked later end of the group's career (including numbers like "Dancing Bear," "Safe in My Garden," and "My Girl"), although from albums that have yet to receive the elegant remastering accorded If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears.
The solo material, which is confined to disc two, will fill in holes for various enthusiasts of Mama Cass et al, and some of this material, sad to say, would have been superb vehicles for the group. Elliot gets the lion's share of space here, solo and in collaboration with Dave Mason, which isn't surprising since she had the most successful solo career in the group. Her early-'70s singles, including "It's Getting Better," "Make Your Own Kind of Music," and "New World Coming," are exactly the kind of upbeat material that the quartet thrived on, and some of these could have been sides by the Mamas & the Papas under other circumstances. John Phillips is represented by a single cut, the folk-revival throwback "Mississippi" from 1970, which also holds up surprisingly well. Michelle Phillips gets three pleasingly lyrical pop
ock cuts from the mid-'70s and her stint on A&M Records, all with surprisingly good sound. The notes are superficial, although the booklet does include a list of singles and their chart successes in various countries.