Great double CD to put alonside the 1st and Happy Trails to complete the pre-Dino Valente version of QMS. The meat of the package is the 1st disc - 76 minutes of the band at their stunning peak. Older fans may remember this as a double live vinyl called 'Maiden of the Cancer Moon' released by Psycho records in the late 80's but recorded in 1967. Astonishingly for the period, the sound is absolutely superb, crystal-clear mono with the band playing tracks from the 1st 2 albums and more. Highlight is a quite magnificent 'Smokestack Lightning', as good as anything on 'Trails', but thers also a long, sinuous 'Mona', a tight, sinister 'Back door Man, a shorter, tighter 'Who do you Love?' and shimmering, hallucenogenic version of 'The Fool' which tops the 1st album, if you can believe that. This is no next-best odds and ends collection, but possibly - and I speak as a long,long time fan - the best QMS album of them all, in that it accurately depicts (even more than 'Happy Trails') just what made them such a special, unique band. The only downer is a 5 minute drum solo which mars an otherwise excellent 'Gold and Silver'
The second disc is more curiosities and leftovers, but not withot merit. Alternate versions of Dino's Song,Calvary and who do you love add little, but the alternative, original 'Acapulco Gold & Siver' is interesting and worth a listen. 3 outtakes from the 1st album are fair enough, although the odd version here of ''Back Door Man' with horns can't hold a candle to the Doors definitive version, or indeed their own version (without horns!) on disc 1. The real treasure on this disc however are the 2 songs from the 'Revolution' soundtrack - 'Codine' and the magnificent 'Babe i'm gonna leave you' - both (but especially the latter) among the band's finest work. Finally both sides of the impossibly rare non-album 45 'Stand by Me / Bears'. The former isn't the Ben E.King standard, but an original Dino Valente song which gives an intriguing glimpse of what might have been if Dino had stuck around in the early days.