The very best in this case is everything that Darts did with bass vocalist Den Hegarty and a little more besides. The first disc is the better of the two, displaying all shades of doowop, whether its the manic energy of the first hit, 'Daddy Cool/The Girl Can't Help It', the chiming arrangement of 'Bells In My Heart' or the tenderness of 'Sh-boom'. The disc begins with their first album and they're irrepressible throughout. With four strong personalities sharing lead vocals, Darts had a lot of possibilities at their disposal and here they make use of them. Mention should also be made, however, of the accomplished five-piece instrumental unit behind them. Between them they give the music a big sound.
B-sides double up the run time and are welcome additions. Apart from a raft of expert cover versions, they include the typically irreverent 'Messing Shoe Blues' and 'Naff Off'. Post-Hegarty hits, including 'Duke Of Earl' are also present.
The second disc begins with their second album, which kicks off with their version of 'The Boy From NYC', arguably their most popular recording. Although there's another classy hit, 'It's Raining', this album isn't quite as good. More of the lead vocals are taken by Hegarty, perhaps because he'd emerged as the foremost personality, but this is a mistake. The band haven't lost their humour or enthusiasm, but they overplay the bassman's 'mad' persona. Even so, it's enjoyable fare, with pianist Hammy Howell getting the opportunity to demonstrate a couple of party pieces.
This album is 130 minutes of joy, recalling the fun music of bands like The Coasters, whose catalogue is well-represented here. The only disappointment is that you can't watch them performing these songs, as Darts were also a marvellous visual experience.