A lot of the reviews have used the word 'under-rated' to describe the Lilac Time. Well, I'm going to go one better. To me, main man Stephen Duffy is the best songwriter of the last 20 years or more. This collection comprises songs from their three Fontana albums 'The Lilac Time', 'Paradise Circus' and 'And Love for All' (which themselves are all sadly now unavailable) plus B-sides and bonus tracks. It's quite a collection! I only discovered them relatively recently when my Dad played me some of the songs from their best studio album Paradise Circus (sadly deleted) and I fell in love with them. The melodies and musical arrangements are so wonderful that it's hard not to appreciate the songs purely on that level. But then when you start to listen to the lyrics properly... Well, they're just mind-blowing! The songs grab you and won't let you go. The first CD concentrates on single A-sides and original album tracks. On songs like 'Love Becomes a Savage' and 'If the Stars Shine Tonight', Duffy describes love and sex in such a very intimate and personal way that it's hard not to be drawn in. You feel like you're an observer looking in on someone else's relationship. And his vocals are wonderful too with an aching quality that superbly conveys a sense of weariness and resignation like no other singer I've ever heard. Not all of the songs have that depth, though. Songs like 'Fields' and 'All for Love and Love For All' from 'And Love for All' are more commercial and do sadly suffer slightly for being produced by XTC's Andy Partridge (he made them sound like XTC!). There are some notable omissions ('And on We Go', 'Together', 'Too Sooner Later Better' and 'The Last to Know') but you're never going to please everybody. It's difficult to pick out highlights when there are so many great songs on offer, but the hauntingly beautiful 'She Still Loves You' is a sheer masterpiece of songwriting. Elsewhere 'American Eyes', a tale of unrequited love harking back to childhood is remarkably touching for such a commercially sounding song. The second CD consists of B-sides and also Instrumentals, of which there are maybe too many. If you made an album of the best B-sides it would still be a great album! 'Gone for a Burton', a tale of getting together with someone on the night Richard Burton died (it may sound daft, but it's very touching actually!) is particularly superb. So in conclusion, not every song on this 2-CD set may be a classic and some great tracks have been missed off, but as the only real introduction available for the work of this genius songwriter it's absolutely essential.