Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders made an astonishingly large number of good records, and it’s sometimes easy to forget how good they were. That’s why boxed sets like this are so handy; it’s hard not to smile or reminisce when you hear “Stop Your Sobbing,” “Talk of the Town,” and “Message of Love.” It’s also hard not to marvel at the talents of guitarist James Honeyman Scott. His death in the early ’80s was a blow not just to the guitar world, but to the world of music. I was also a big fan of the guy who replaced him, Robbie McIntosh, and stuff like “Middle of the Road” and “My City Was Gone” are great slices of rock. This set also brings great later stuff like “Night in My Veins,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” “Sense of Purpose,” and more, along with strong unreleased cuts like the marvelous “Tequila” and a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Reconsider Me.”
Disc 5 is a wonderful collection of videos and performances by various versions of the band. And >all rock. And one must tip their cap to the woman who makes it work – Hynde is one of the most gifted writers in rock, and she delivers vocals with the smartass attitude every rocker should possess. And unlike many of today’s rockers, you know she means it.
Rhino has done its usual fine job in packaging. A great booklet gives you all the info you’ll need, and completes an absolute must-have for fans of real rock and roll.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jul. ’06 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.