If you were to purchase only one Lovin' Spoonful album, you can't go wrong with Repertoire's A's & B's. Granted, Rhino's single disc ANTHOLOGY (now out of print) and Buddha's Greatest Hits are both cheaper, but this two-disc collection is nearly perfect.
All sixteen singles released between 1965 and 1968 are here, along with the flip sides. [Note: Only "Full Measure," the flip side of "Nashville Cats" charted. It peaked at No. 87.]
The 16-page booklet is filled with many pictures of the band that I haven't seen before. In addition, the picture sleeves are also included.
Even if you already own the four studio albums remastered by Buddha, there are several tracks included from the Spoonful's two soundtrack albums (WHAT'S UP, TIGER LILY? and YOU'RE A BIG BOY NOW) and five tracks from the final Spoonful album, REVELATION REVOLUTION '69. That album was recorded after John Sebastian left the group, but Joe Butler has a fine voice and there are several memorable songs including the singles "Never Goin' Back" and "Me About You." [Note: This final album has never been released on CD.]
My biggest gripe is the sequencing of the songs. They are neither presented chronologically, nor are the singles paired with their B-sides. So disc one starts with two of their 1966 hits before the appearance of their 1965 debut single "Do You Believe in Magic." In addition, Disc one contains a handful of B-sides, while disc two has a couple of A-sides. It would have made sense to present the songs chronologically with their flip sides, or at the very least put all the singles on one disc and the B-sides on the other.
Also, there is one single missing from this collection. Following Sebastian's successful (and unscheduled) appearance at Woodstock, Kama Sutra released "Younger Generation" b/w "Boredom" (both from EVERYTHING PLAYING) in 1970. [I suppose this didn't get included because by 1970, the Spoonful had splintered as a band two years earlier.]
Bottom line, the Spoonful were the feel-good band of the Sixties. To borrow a line from one of their biggest hits: "Just go and listen it'll start with a smile / It won't wipe off your face no matter how hard you try." VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED