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4.6 out of 5 stars16
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 29 July 2004
Ok so you may have bought Double Hipness, you may be lucky enough to have Popera and you may be asking yourself, 'does the world really need another Associates/Billy mackenzie anthology. The answer will always be yes as far as I am concerned.
Not everyone will have Popera, which was an earlier Associates retrospective that is now sadly unavailable, but 'singles' is a worthy replacement, where popera failed on poor sleeve notes, 'Singles' is a joy to behold, carefully,thoughtfully and lovingly put together. Sure there will be the pedantic souls out there that bemoan the single-edit nature of this track and that track, but that should only serve to feed the curiousity of anyone who hasn't got the original albums to go seek them out and discover even more just how wonderful this band, and in particular this singer were (and still are).
The songs I would like to have seen included are 'In windows all' and the original of 'Even dogs in the wild' (not the poor by comparison remix version. In fact the latter does point to a glaring omission in the Associates back catalogue, that being the original version of 'The Affectionate Punch' (The one with Billy and Alan Rankine on the circuit track in the pouring rain) It's the great lost associates album (Which used to be the glamour chase before it finally got a long overdue release). Hopefully one day the master tapes will surface and we will finally get a CD release of the superior version of this album, instead of the inferior remix version that was released on Fiction.
Overall if you're a Billy/Associates fan you won't mind paying for this, Just having the pleasure of hearing THAT VOICE again is reason enough to pay the money for this collection, If you are new to Billy's work then this will take you further into his back catalogue and give you pointers as to what to buy (Just buy the lot, you won't be disappointed). It's good to see 'Kites' and the alternative version of 'A' on here as well. The songs he did with Yello and Apollo 440 didn't make the grade because it is an ASSOCIATES anthology and not a tip of the hat to those aforementioned bands, even if the material Billy performed with them is well worth checking out, especially the heartbreakingly beautiful, 'The pain In Any Language'. Billy did a vast amount of extra curricular work outwith the boundaries of the Associates and all of it is well worth checking out, even if it is extensive) I suggest checking out his collaboration with Barry Adamson and his work with Loom to name but two.
But I digress.....
'Singles' is a worthy addition to any record collection, Just sit back and listen to the man who had the Opera, The Popera and possibly the greatest voice ever to grace the music industry. Don't look for the flaws, Billy was bogged down by people picking holes in his work and by Record Company politics over the years. He was a perfectionist,an expressionist and a genius all rolled into one.
Buy this record, take it home and just enjoy the man, the music and the legend that was Billy Mackenzie, God truly has the voice of an angel by his side now. may he rest in peace.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 October 2011
The other two reviews, to date, have assumed only fans of Billy MacKenzie and/or The Associates would be interested in buying this CD double.

I recall the soaring vocals on a couple of singles by the Associates, back when they were released but bought other music and did other things. One of the wonderments of Amazon and buying online is that you can research and recall music that you missed and, generally, buy it very cheaply indeed.

Many best-of's exist for many artists and it is often just a few clicks before a cheap CD pops through the letterbox. However, when this beautifully shot and packaged CD came up, it was more expensive than many compilations I've bought, but seemed to offer something special. I knew of a couple of the names of those singles and the odd song that was covered by Billy but that was about it.

After owning it for 18 months, it is still one of my most played and my favourite on it, an "unauthorised" Bowie cover, is Boys Keep Swinging, which opens the first disc. I found the Associates to have a quite heavy and involved backing, which I still enjoyed but here, Billy MacKenzie breaks free and all the glory of his beautiful, gracious voice truly shines.

I feel that 'Singles' to be complete enough, for me at least, not to need to go in search of other compilations of either The Associates, nor Billy MacKenzie. True, that does not make me a true fan but a fan of music I am and that this still holds a front row in my collection makes it special, indeed.
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on 15 November 2013
great cd brought back some great memories loved the band in the 80s and still love now, just brilliant ten out of ten
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on 4 June 2013
I'd forgotten just how unique a sound the Associates had until a couple of songs were played on the radio as part of an 'oldies' slot. That led me to this purchase, and I am glad I did - there's a good range of tracks to rediscover, although my favourite remains 'Party Fears Two'.
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on 6 April 2014
A great collection - brings back memories. Shame that the original albums seem so hard to find at sensible prices.
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on 9 July 2013
I really loved thisbook about a cult figure in british pop music. hailing from Dundee bily mackenzie went far in his all too brief career as lead vocalist with the band the associates. soaring voal range unmatched before or sense. tragic end makes this essential in attempting to decipher this complicated man. go buy it.
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on 4 March 2016
Fast delivery and a brilliant price too. Loved this band in the 80's/90's and it's great to hear all these songs again now. What a voice.......
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on 7 September 2013
I love The Associates. This is a great collection. Really glad I bought it. Two of my friends have tried to pinch it already.
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on 7 November 2015
Brilliant. Takes me back to a time when I was alot younger!
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Singles is a 28-track collection of...singles from Associates/The Associates/Billy Mackenzie & another posthumous issue/reissue (some of these releases appear to be milking it...).
The first disc has been released before- most of it found on Double Hipness, The Affectionate Punch, 4th Drawer Down & Sulk- though A/Punch isn't on CD at present, so it's a bonus to have the title track & A from that release (though the 1990 compilation Popera lists other single releases from A-Punch original/remixed: Even Dogs in the Wild!!!! (the 1982 remix of A Matter of Gender opens the second side). The first disc doesn't offer much not found on the 4th/Sulk reissues of 2000, the rarities here being restricted to the great cover of Kites (under their 39, Lyon Street pseudonym) & the poor Ice Cream Factory single. I'd wait for a reissue of The Affectionate Punch and pick up the budget-priced 4th Drawer Down and Sulk instead (really, you should have them anyway at this point in time!). It must be added that all the versions here are the single edits, which spoil things a bit...
The second disc, after Gender, hits a trio of great post-Rankine singles: Breakfast, Those First Impressions, & Waiting for the Loveboat. Then again, Perhaps was reissued a few years ago with The Glamour Chase, so what's the point? (Take Me to the Girl, that shoddy cover of Heart of Glass & Country Boy was also on Perhaps/Glamour) & why are we missing the Yello-collaboration The Rhythm Divine- which made the Popera-set????? The singles from Wild & Lonely are great, even with the wrong production, though the inclusion of the remixed Loveboat is unnecessary and takes the space that could have been given to something else. Baby & Colours Will Come are about the best tracks on Outernational, which ought to be reissued too...
So- a disappointing collection marred by it's singlecentric view. There are many great LP tracks not here (Transport to Central, Logan Time, Skipping, 13 Feelings) & joys like Pain In Any Language (with Apollo 440) and the posthumous-trio (Beyond the Sun, The Memory Palace, Eurocentric) are passed over. I'd like to see each LP reissued with the kind of detail of Mike Dempsey's takes on 4th and Sulk. Then I'd like to see a definitive Associates/Billy Mackenzie box-set; this, while full of great music, is a bit obvious. I mean, why edit White Car in Germany?- it's like ripping Lolita in half...
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