When the Scottish duo Craig and Charlie Reid appeared on the scene in 1987 they were immediately compared to The Everly Brothers. This comparison makes some sense considering their energetic, melodic folk rock but they didnt truly sound like the Everlys. Instead, they were was a pop band, aggressively using their thick accents on sweet, infectiously melodic songs infused with a sense of humour were about love, politics, drinking, and life in Scotland. This Best Of gleans the best of their 4 albums and 1 EP and 2 tracks, produced by Edwin Collins, written and recorded especially for this release.
Though The Proclaimers have been having hits since 1987, when "Letter from America" became an unlikely but welcome chart-topper, they have recorded only sporadically. So while the time feels right for a Best Of
collection, this is mostly drawn from just four albums. In what is either an apology, or a genuine attempt to provide value for money, or both, three fine new songs are included, plus The Proclaimers' justly popular cover of Roger Miller's "King of The Road" (a collection of cover versions by The Proclaimers remains one of the best albums never made).
What is clear from this 20-track retrospective is that The Proclaimers have not developed at all since they first picked up guitars. Craig and Charlie Reid seem to believe they got it right the first time, and it's difficult to argue otherwise. Certainly, there has never been anyone else like them: The Proclaimers have stuck doggedly to their guns, refusing to forsake their treacle-thick Scottish accents (a decision they sang about on "Throw The R Away") or their worldview (how many self-proclaimed rock & roll outlaws would dare to sing a song called "I Want To Be A Christian" or "Let's Get Married"?). In their perverse and obstinate way, The Proclaimers are about as rock & roll as it gets.
These are simple and direct songs, but they're great simple and direct songs, performed with unashamedly earnest passion by two extraordinary singers--their harmonies merit comparison with those of the brothers Louvin or Righteous. The Reids' awkward appearance made them a staple of parodists, but the way they look should not distract anyone from the way they sound. Anyone who fails to weep at "Sunshine on Leith" is dead, or might as well be. --Andrew Mueller