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If you've not already heard just about every track on scratched vinyl then this is such an essential compilation and will save you the hassle and years you could spend tracking the damn stuff down. It's utterly fantastic of course and shows the versatility/persistance/self-belief of the guy. We cover the rougher more angst ridden early stuff of Wah! Heat through the gloriously poppy mid 80s era to the present triumphant return. If you're reading this, you mustn't need much convincing. If you need more convincing, remember when you first heard Sinful, Come Back, Story Of The Blues or the latest anthem Heart as Big As Liverpool and warm to the knowledge there's 27 more tracks here! In the past, whenever I've felt down - a blast of 'Remember' always did the trick! One of the greatest 3 minute pop songs now available in a more portable fix. This box set is just about the best thing that's happened to me this year!
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on 23 March 2001
Pete Wylie? Greatest Hits? Who would have thought it...wasn't too long ago when Liverpool's biggest ego - and there is considerable competition for that title - wouldn't be seen dead with his name on a greatest hits album. It's been a pretty close call as to whether he would be seen at all, at times. But the sheer breadth, quality and notably passion of these tracks tells you why he is still around and still making some of the best music - this man will not lie down.
My personal favourite is still Seven Minutes to Midnight - just for it's sheer passion and vitriol - it's a shame the extended rant in the closing sequence is not on this live version - the anger still make the hair stand up on the back of my neck though.
But you can perm any ten from this album and you would still have a classic collection - even the poppier parts of Wylie's chart career.
Great value, great quality, Great music from the Ego as Big as Liverpool.
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on 29 October 2009
Pete Wylie, along with the other members of Liverpool's 'Crucial Three', Ian McCulloch and Julian Cope, produced some of the best music of the '80s. The Handy Wah Whole (a pun on the American pop artist, geddit?) contains all the Wylie you need, including his two indisputably 'great' recordings, 'Come Back' and 'Story Of The Blues'.

'Story Of The Blues' is a rousing, Spectoresque cry of defiance. Released in 1982, just as the country, and in particular Liverpool, was starting to feel the pinch from the Thatcher government, it stands as a moving monument to the spirit and resistance of the times. The only shame here is that 'Talkin' Blues Pt 2', which it segued into on the original 12' single, has been separated off and put on Disc 2 of this compilation. The line 'The Blues is about dignity and self-respect, and no matter what they take away from you, that's yours for keeps' never fails to move me.

'Come Back' is even better - a passionate, polemical piece possessed of an irresistible throb and joie de vivre. The song was one of John Peel's all-time favourites. It was conceived as a plea to the thousands of people who left Liverpool during the '80s recession - 'Come back, to God-given leisure', urges Wylie.

Other highlights on this album include the urgent and dramatic '7 Minutes To Midnight', the gorgeous Walker Brothers' stylings of 'Hope' and the poppy dance track 'Sinful'. Sadly, much of Disc 2 is forgettable, the songs mired in horrible 'soft rock' guitars and over-production. 'Heart As Big As Liverpool' is liable to divide listeners - native Scousers may find its message uplifting, this 'woollyback' find its sentimentality jarring. No matter - for 'Story Of The Blues' and 'Come Back' alone, Wylie deserves his place in pop history.
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on 21 November 2000
A Wah!/Wylie box set? Well I just had to have that, despite having it all on vinyl already. I guess anyone reading this knows now that I'm biased, but this is a truly wonderful compilation. This covers the whole spectrum from the early days of Better Scream to the latest stuff, taking in the poppy bit in the middle when Wah! appeared to have died (the name not the music!). I must admit that I'd forgotten how good Diamond girl was! Complaints? Well non really, except that I know there is a lot of other stuff that deserves to be on this as well! If I had to choose between this pair of CDs and my vinyl collection, I'd choose the vinyl...
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on 3 October 2000
This is a must for anyone who has a wide taste in music. From the early new wave sounds of 7 minutes to midnight through to heart as big as liverpool with the marvellous milestones of remember, come back, sinful, if i love you etc as measurements on the way. Why Pete has never had the commercial success his talent surely deserves is a mystery that will live forever in my mind as well as his. One warning if buying this set aside a long time as it is probably 2 1/2 hours long.
Dave
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on 17 April 2001
I grew up in Liverpool. Vinyl singles of "seven minutes to..." were my adolescence. Suffering something of a Nick Hornby moment, I ordered the whole and entire back catalogue of my youth, on CD.
There are still great songs on here - but nothing can hide the basic egomania, the overwhelming narcissism, and the fact that - to be blunt - this just isn't very good music. On a scratchy 45 in a teenage bedroom, these were as vital (in a rather art-college way) as the Specials or the Clash. Now, in the higher fidelity of my middle-aged spread, I can just hear the ragged sound and the thinness of it all.
If Wylie had a bit more of a studio budget, some of these might have made Queen songs. A better engineer; someone who knew how to get that real poodle-rock stadium sound, and they might even have cut it as U2 out-takes.
You can't go back.
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on 22 December 2009
The scouse springsteeen in all his glory. Some brilliant singles and probably the best cover version of all time in 'you cant put your arms round a memeory'.Genius.
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on 10 December 2013
This is brilliant, so glad to be able to listen to 'the story of the blues', sing out loud song, takes you right back........
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