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4.3 out of 5 stars53
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 2 October 2008
It's really serious. The Smiths probably have the messiest catalogue there is. Around two thirds of their songs appear on the four studio albums while the remaining third are scattered across several compilations and rare CD-singles. Warner, unlikeEMI, have never been interested in milking a catalogue (or creating coherent and necessary reissues).

Looking through the dozen or so titles down your local retailer, the racks are clogged up with no less than four "greatest hits" collections and three rarities sets. These really need to be consigned to the bargain bin so they can be replaced with more streamlined compilations that would supplement the albums with at least some degree of logic: all the non-album songs (with a vocal) would fill a CD. Add to that a second disc of instrumentals, alternative versions, and live b-sides and you have a superlative two-disc set. A CD of BBC sessions is also required.

And so to the Rhino 45-track "The Sound Of The Smiths": judging by the title and cover photo of the group themselves, this was not sanctioned by Morrissey and Marr. The first disc is a chronological run-through their "greatest hits" with a couple of slightly different versions thoughtfully substituted. But the perfectly titled andartworked "Singles" from 1995 was the definitive best-of for all time, comprising every A-side in chronological order.

The second disc presents an alternative view of The Smiths career, digging deeper and throwing up some rarities in the process: the live version of "Handsome Devil" and the Troy Tate produced version of "Pretty Girls Make Graves" appear on CD for the very first time; while "Jeane", "Wonderful Woman" and the live James cover "What's The World?" have at last been compiled. You'll still have to buy the "Panic" CD single if you want to hear the studio version of "The Draize Train". And locate the US CD-single of "Sweet And Tender Hooligan" to find "I Keep Mine Hidden" and "Work Is A Four Letter Word".

The catalogue of what many regard as the greatest musical force since The Beatles remains still ill.
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on 8 September 2011
Buy it for CD2. From the original Hand in Glove live b-side of Handsome Devil to the ropey but loveable James cover-version (previously only available to me on my friend's much-coveted cassette single). Both CD1 and CD2 combine to remind that Morrissey and Marr were never so subversive and beautiful as they were when they were writing and performing together. As an ageing ardent fan who bought the singles as they came out, but who isn't a completist, this compilation has been a joy, pulling together all the famous tracks, but more importantly, the b-sides and oddities so beautifully. CD2 is my most played Smiths 'thing', which means I can finally give the singles a well earned rest. Don't bother with the overpriced deluxe about to be released, go for the underpriced delight.
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on 22 June 2011
On of the best Smiths compilations and remastered - better than Jap pressings.

pity no Draize train track or sandie shaw A-side as well.

Dirt cheap considering low-fi mp3 file alternatives.

Thoroughly recommended.
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on 28 January 2009
I have most of The Smiths albums (sadly most of the older ones on tape, gosh how old am I?) and bought this as it included a remastered live version of Meat is Murder.
The original recording was played on Radio 1 I think and mine was a copy of a copy of a copy so very poor quality. The whole album is worth it for that one track (and the revisiting of my youth) alone.
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on 1 June 2011
I previously owned The Best of the Smiths.I found it pretty much impossible to listen to, way too compressed and brittle.I was sceptical about this latest offering.My fears were unfounded,the sound is excellent.Both CDs sound smooth,but with plenty of clarity.The big plus for me is that "How Soon is Now",as well as"This Charming Man",are both the 12" versions.
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on 16 September 2011
fantastic best of remastered incl album tracks and singles and rarities, great value. already have the studio albums and this is a great addition as the tracks are remastered.

not sure whether it is worth buying the new complete set which is all remastered??
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on 6 November 2008
Completely agree with most of the above comments - what was needed was a release like The Beatles "Past Masters" discs, mopping up the non-album tracks be they A-sides, B-sides or 12" versions etc.

They really missed a chance to do that here - as well as the aforementioned "Draize Train", "I Keep Mine Hidden" and "Work Is A Four Letter Word" omissions, I'd like to add that it appears that the non-BBC version of "Accept Yourself" is still unavailable on CD except on hard to get "This Charming Man" CD maxi singles. This also had Jeanne and Wonderful Woman (included here at last), but I think the alternative "Manchester" (or was it "London") version of This Charming Man was only ever on 12" vinyl (may be wrong there). And the original B-side of "Stretch Out And Wait" had a couple of different lyrics to the one used later on compilations - has that one ever been on CD? Maybe that's the version included here. Also, a missed chance to put out the original 12" B-side crossfaded segue of Rubber Ring/Asleep. Annoying!

Apparently Morrissey and Johnny Marr had some input - perhaps they've deliberatley missed off some stuff they didn't like? Still, I think that as one of the greatest bands of all times (SECOND best band of the 80's did someone say?!? Yeah, right, like there was anyone better), all their official releases should be available for posterity. Or better still, why didn't someone just go through "The Songs That Saved Your Life" and put every single thing in there into a box set! Including the whole Troy Tate album, please (my copy is rather rubbish quality)!

Still, 4 stars for what IS on it, one withheld for the omissions.
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on 2 December 2011
I recieved this album as a present and am really glad I did!!! Introduced me to the beautiful music of the Smiths with a lot of songs for the money, also including the John Peel sessions for a few songs and live versions (Meat is Murder live is amazing).
After listening to this to death I am planning on buying their other albums now, I am truly a converted Smiths fan!
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The Smiths were the second best band of the Eighties and you should have their records. They were were inventive, witty, wildly misunderstood and possessed with a unique vision and aesthetic that stood them head and shoulders above almost every other band of their time. If you don't own any Smiths material, buy the 2 CD version of this and start here to enter a wider world.

But if you are familiar with The Smiths... then, honestly...what's the point? Why? After "The Best Of ...1", "The Best of....2", "The Very Best Of", "Singles", comes "The Sound Of The Smiths". The FIFTH best of compilation from a band that only made four official albums in their lifetime.

It's a disgrace to The Smiths and their legacy. It can't be that they need the money : The Smiths have sold a gazillion records. It can't be that the catalogue requires reappraisal : the band are huge and legendary. So... why is this coming out? Morrissey must be down to his last £8,000,000 or so.

I have no idea. If The Smiths had half a clue - and Morrissey / Marr appear to be working together to produce compilations, then where's the long delayed box set of rarities, demos, out-takes, and live recordings? What about the concerts recorded in Derby, Madrid, Oxford, Brixton in a respectful box set? What about a live album? (It has been 20 years since the last one). What about a Smiths live DVD of the filmed concerts from Paris, Hamburg, Barcelona ? What about ANYTHING other than a selection of songs we've already heard a thousand times over the last quarter century, packaged in a cheap sleeve last seen on The Peel Sessions cassette? What about a BBC compilation of concerts and radio sessions like almost every other band from that era has seen? Oh no. Don't dare give people any music they might not have heard before. Don't dare think about that. Just shovel the same old nonsense at them in a cheap, thoughtless sleeve, and throw together a `bonus' disc with a large number of missing tracks on.

The `limited edition' second CD edition contains most of the b-sides, though it is missing several songs live from the Oxford Apollo (taken from the "That Joke Isn't Funny 12"), and "The Draize Train" : but including 11 songs that have featured on the Smiths previous album catalogue. It defies sense.

Don't touch this with a bargepole. If you have to buy one Smiths compilation get this for the handful of rarer stuff on the 2nd CD. But if you've got their albums before, don't bother with this pitiful excuse for a compilation. Someone in charge ring up Warner Brothers and bang their heads together until they treat some of the greatest music ever recorded with the respect and importance it deserves. This sells everyone involved short and cheapens the art within.
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on 6 August 2010
If you've heard a few of The Smiths more popular tracks and want to hear more - this is the perfect CD. I myself had only heard a few tracks before listening to this double-album but I'm most definatley a fan of The Smiths now!! :)

I bought this CD along with a bunch of others, and was actually just looking for stuff to fill up an order to make it more worth while!! It sat in my collection for a few weeks before I remembered it, and played both discs all the way through - I think it's brilliant!

The music is good, the songwriting/lyrics are truly brilliant - dark and beautiful at the same time - this is a highly reccomended listen.

And don't worry about all those people that think you're a manic depressive if you listen to Morrisey or The Smiths... they're the kind of people I'd rather kick in the eye ;)
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