We have two completely different Slades here: as Ambrose Slade they are the hippy-ish, pre-Chas Chandler sixties group. Noddy sings out of tune on occasion. But all is forgiven: the songs ooze a special energy that eventually got transformed into the boot stomping Slade of the '70's. Although Beginnings is no classic, it is worth buying just for the novelty of hearing Slade cover The Beatles.
Q magazine once described Slade as the missing link between The Beatles and Oasis. In my opinion, the Beatles were just the warm up act to Slade, and Oasis were the drunks who hung around after the gig.
This is proved by the second offering on this two-album CD, Slade's first proper LP: Play it Loud. Just typing the title sends shivers down my backbone. What an album. Songs like Dapple Rose, about an old retired race-horse, might be sentimental and a bit strange, but Slade managed to get away with their former hippy-ness because the melodies and arrangements are so good. The songs are short and to the point. Three minute classics, the early seventies equivalent of The Ramones.
Slade always have been a no-nonsense, good time band. Music for pleasure. These two albums are at once interesting for Slade fans and awesome for everybody else.