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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 24 October 2013
As a collection this is great value gathering together six Rats albums along with a lot of bonus tracks giving you 88 tracks on your cloud player, including Neon Heart from the Peel Sessions which you cannot get directly.

However, it does betray its budget origins. These are the same remasters from 2005 with the same harsher sound, reordered track listing, wobble at the start of I Can Make It If You Can, a speedy misspelt Joey's on the Streets(sic) Again, and a photograph containing Gerry Cott on V Deep, which was V (five) for numerous reasons including his departure making them a five piece.

Personally I would prefer the original albums with the original track order without the bonus tracks, but there are some gems in the bonus tracks, particularly the 1975 demo sessions and the afore mentioned Neon Heart, so that is a minor quibble.

The box itself is a handy container, but the cardboard gatefolds, particularly the photographs when opened are not very good. Simple square facsimiles of the original albums with inserts would have been better. If they had to have a gatefold for cost reasons then the photos should have been replaced with the original album inserts or in the case of Mondo Bongo, the free poster, when opened.

If you never got around to buying all the remastered CDs in 2005, then it is a great purchase and an opportunity to listen to more of the Rats than I Don't Like Mondays.
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Almost a tale of two cities - the three Seventies CDs in this mini box set rock - and a lot better than many would want to credit. But the three Eighties CDs that follow are only redeemed by occasional great singles with the rest of it smothered in dreadful Eighties Production techniques and a distinct lack of tunes. Still it's presented well (gatefold card repro sleeves) - all discs feature the 2005 JON ASTLEY Remasters (he did THE WHO catalogue) - and all have retained their bonus tracks. And at fifteen quid from some online retailers - it's cheap too. Time to do the rat...

Released October 2013 - "Classic Album Selection: Six Albums 1977-1984" is a 6CD Box set on Universal/Mercury 374 275-7 (Barcode 602537427574) and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 - "The Boomtown Rats" - 56:29 minutes:
1. Lookin' After No. 1
2. Mary Of The 4th Form
3. Close As You'll Ever Be
4. Neon Heart
5. Joey's On The Street Again
6. I Can Make It If You Can [Side 2]
7. Never Bite The Hand That Feeds
8. (She's Gonna) Do You In
9. Kicks
Tracks 1 to 9 are their debut album "The Boomtown Rats" released September 1977 in the UK on Ensign Records ENVY 1 and in the USA on Mercury SRM-1-1188.
To sequence the American LP use the following track listing - Side 1: 1, 4, 5, 7, 2 - Side 2: 8, 3, 6, 9
10. Doin' It Right - 1975 Live Demo
11. My Blues Away - 1975 Live Demo
12. A Second Time - 1975 Live Demo
13. Fanzine Hero - 1975 Live Demo
14. Barefootin' - Live In Moran's Hotel Dublin, 1975
15. Mary Of The 4th Form - Single Version (November 1977 second UK 7" on Ensign ENY 9)

Disc 2 - "A Tonic For The Troops" - 50:13 minutes:
1. Like Clockwork
2. Blind Date
3. (I Never Loved) Eva Braun
4. Living In An Island
5. Don't Believe What You Read
6. She's So Modern [Side 2]
7. Me And Howard Hughes
8. Can't Stop
9. (Watch Out For) The Normal People
10. Rat Trap
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 2nd album "A Tonic For The Troops" released July 1978 in the UK on Ensign ENVY 3 and in the USA on Columbia JC 35750.
The US album was a mixtures of tracks from the first two albums - you can sequence it as follows - Side 1: 10, 7, 3, 4, 1 [Disc 2] - Side 2: 2, 2 of Disc 1, 5, 6, 5 of Disc 1
11. Neon Heart - John Peel Session
12. Do The Rat - non-album track, B-side in the UK to both "Mary Of The 4th Form" in November 1977 on Ensign ENY 9 and "Rat Trap" in October 1978 on Ensign ENY 16)
13. D.U.N. L.A.O.G.H.A.I.R.E (non-album track, Ireland-Only B-side in 1978 to "Like Clockwork" on Mulligan Records LUN 716. Dun Laoghaire is an area in South Dublin. The LUN in the catalogue number refers to DONAL LUNNY of THE BOTHY BAND who owned the label and Windmill Studios in Dublin where U2 recorded some of their earlier albums)
14. Rat Trap - Live In Stroke

Disc 3 - "The Fine Art Of Surfacing" - 53:03 minutes:
1. Someone's Looking At You
2. Diamond Smiles
3. Wind Chill Factor (Minus Zero)
4. Having My Picture Taken
5. Sleep (Finger's Lullaby)
6. I Don't Like Mondays [Side 2]
7. Nothing Happened Today
8. Keep It Up
9. Nice `N' Neat
10. When The Night Comes
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 3rd album "The Fine Art Of Surfacing" released October 1979 in the UK on Ensign ENROX 11 and in the USA on Columbia JC 36248
11. Episode No. 3
12. Real Different
13. How Do You Do? - non-album track, B-side to the UK release of "Like Clockwork" in June 1978 on Ensign ENY 14)
14. Late Last Night - non-album track, B-side to the UK release of "Diamond Smiles" in November 1979 on Ensign ENY 33
15. Nothing Happened Today - Live In Cardiff

Disc 4 - "Mondo Bongo" - 53:53 minutes:
1. Straight Up
2. The Elephant's Graveyard
3. This Is My Room
4. Another Piece Of Red
5. Hurt Hurts
6. Fall Down
7. Go Man Go
8. Under Their Thumb Is Under My Thumb
9. Banana Republic
10. Whitehall 1212
11. Mood Mambo
Note: The above 12 tracks are how this (2005) CD sequences the songs - however the original British and US LPs `both' had different song line ups. The British LP released December 1980 on Mercury 6359 042 can be sequenced as Side 1: 12, 1, 3, 4, 8 and 9 - Side 2: 6, 2, 10, 7, 5 and 11. The US album on Columbia PC 37062 replaces 11 ("Whitehall 1212") at the end of Side 2 with "Up All Night" which is on "V Deep"- Track 7, Disc 5.
12. Cheerio
13. Don't Talk To Me -
14. Arnold Layne - Recorded For TV (Pink Floyd cover - Syd Barrett song)
15. Another Piece Of Red - Live In Portsmouth

Disc 5 - "V Deep" - 58:52 minutes:
1. He Watches It All
2. Never In A Million Years
3. Talking In Code
4. The Bitter End
5. The Little Death
6. A Storm Breaks
7. Up All Night
8. House On Fire
9. Charmed Lives
10. Skin On Skin
11. Say Hi To Mick
Tracks 1 to 11 are their 5th studio album "V Deep" released May 1982 in the UK on Mercury Records 6359 082
12. No Hiding Place - non-album track, B-side to the UK 7" single of "Charmed Lives" released June 1982 on Mercury MER 106
13. House On Fire - 12" Dub
14. Up All Night - Long Version

Disc 6 - "In The Long Grass" - 55:09 minutes:
1. Dave
2. Over And Over
3. Drag Me Down
4. A Hold On Me Another Sad Story
5. Tonight Hard Times
6. Lucky
7. An Icicle In The Sun
8. Up Or Down
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 6th and final album "In The Long Grass" released December 1984 in the UK on Mercury Records MERL 38 and in the USA on Columbia PC 39335
9. Dave - Single Version - released November 1984 in the UK on Mercury MER 179
10. Walking Downtown - non-album track, B-side to the UK 12" single of "Tonight" released January 1984 on Mercury MERX 154
11. Precious Time - non-album track, B-side to the UK 7" and 12" single of "Tonight" released January 1984 on Mercury MER 154
12. She's Not The Best - Home Demo

Most fans will notice that each CD mirrors the 2005 Jon Astley remasters (he handled The Who back catalogue) - they're the same and each has superb sound quality. Songs like "When The Night Comes" and "Kicks" sound amazing - full of power and muscle. Speaking of the first album - I've always thought a lot of Punk snobbery came into play when discussing the Rats in the beginning. I think it's a bit of a minor masterpiece of the time. I saw them live in Dublin and they were spitting at old Hippies a year before the Pistols had even debuted their "Never Mind" album. While the punky hits "Lookin' After No. 1" and "Mary Of The 4th Form" are well known - album nuggets like the venomous "(She's Gonna) Do You In", the Willie Nile sounding "Joey's On The Street Again" (with those fabulous guitar breaks towards the end) and best of all "I Can Make It If You Can" - not quite Rock - not Punk either - but somewhere inbetween - a lonely Blues with a mean edge.

They went stratospheric with the smart "Tonic" album - a leap forward in songwriting talent and dare we say it - fun. "Blind Date" could well be The Clash on a rocker tip while the break-neck guitars of "Don't Believe What You Read" still stand up and virtually defined that 'Rats' sound. But the album is dominated by three great singles - snotty punk wonders "Like Clockwork" and "She's So Modern" and of course the mighty and complicated "Rat Trap" - a British Number 1 in October 1978. The remaster rocks on all of them too.

"The Fine Art Of Surfacing" opens with of my favourites - the slyly infectious "Someone's Looking At You" while the lean guitars of "Diamond Smiles" comes on like Joe Jackson's "Look Sharp!" meets Elvis Costello's "My Aim Is True". "Nice 'N' Neat" and the superbly musical "When The Night Comes" end the album in style (those acoustic guitars and keys to the fore like never before). And again the record is dominated by another huge single - "I Don't Like Mondays" - another Number 1 in 1979.

I can still remember the shock of the "Mondo Bongo" LP - I thought it was discordant rubbish. It quickly made the £1 bins only years later and was only saved by two good singles - "Banana Republic" and "The Elephant's Graveyard". Things improved with "V Deep" and tunes like "Never In A Million Years" and "House On Fire". But by the time they got to "In The Long Grass" no-one was listening anymore which is a damn shame because both "Dave" and "A Hold On Me" are excellent even if they're overcooked on the Eighties Production front. The rest of it is drowned in monster production trying to hard to impress.

It's not all genius by any means but when Bob Geldof and his gang hit those sweet notes - they made a racket that still stands up to this day. And I think I met Mary Of The 4th Form in Moran's Hotel in Dublin Bar in 1979 at a Jimi Slevin gig - she was wearing a "Do The Rat" button and spitting at the bouncer on the door (luvverly)...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 November 2014
What a wonderful way to buy the first Rats albums.

All six from the Seventies and eighties are here, housed in a good quality box. Every album is issued in a neat little gate fold sleeve, even though some of them weren't issued in this format first time around. Here is a precis of each release:

'The Boomtown Rats' (1977) - a terrific debut full of hugely catchy songs delivered by Bob at his 'brattish' best.

'A Tonic for the Troops' (1978) - 'the difficult second album syndrome' didn't apply here - this is an absolute classic which has graced my record collection for over 30 years. A stunning piece of work.

'The Fine Art of Surfacing' (1979) - includes the massive 'I Don't Like Mondays', This catches the band at the peak of their fame and powers.

'Mondo Bongo' (1980) - the band lurch off in a different direction, embracing African beats and shaking off the punk tag.

'V Deep' (1982) - In my humble opinion, the weakest of the six albums, though 'House on Fire' is rather special.

'In the Long Grass' (1984). - I liked the album though many panned it. I saw the band on this tour and thought they had matured well as a unit. 'Dave' is charming.

Just an opinion...thanks for reading.
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on 27 March 2014
I remember seeing the rats in concert many years ago and used to play their first 3 albums to death. I haven't listened to the last two albums yet but the first 3 are even better than I remember. Just to hear Joey's on the street again, close as you'll ever be and diamond smiles again is worth the cost of this box set. If you were into the punk/new wave scene this is well worth having in your collection, if the last two albums turn out to be any good then it would have been 5stars
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on 22 October 2013
This release contains all six of The Boomtown Rats albums remastered and expanded cd versions.In new gatefold card sleeves and packaged in a stylish box.
When you listen to this set you will realise what a fine band they were. The musicianship is tight and fantastic and the quality of Bob Geldof's songwriting is stunning. From straight forward r'n'b , new wave, pop, dance, reggae, funk and even jazz these boys gave everything a shot. This box stands as testament to the fact The Boomtown Rats were a great band and even after the hits had dried up the could make evocative thought provoking music.
Snap it up at this price as it is a true bargain.
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on 30 September 2014
All 6 Boomtown Rats Studio Albums in one small handy package at a great price - what's not to love?

A superb New Wave Band, highly underrated at the time, they created many superb album tracks as well as their more well known Singles such as Like Clockwork, Rat Trap and I Don't Like Mondays.

Highly recommended!
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on 3 March 2014
This box set takes me back to when punk rock was all around the UK , with the rats putting out some of the best hits of the time . From number 1 hits and hits that just messed out of the top ten . GO GET THIS BOX SET as it's better than getting the singles one by one and the sound is remastered and crystal clear .
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on 3 March 2014
Great to get the first five albums which I had on vinyl and the additional tracks are interesting. The 6th album I had not heard and is also worth a play. All in all along with Stranglers 1st six this was essential when I was still (almost) a lad.
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on 28 November 2014
Great price for these 6 Rats albums! Nice reproduction sleeves as well, but would have been even better had they included a small booklet with info about each album and/or lyrics. Still, great to have these back in my collection and replacing long-ago worn out vinyl.
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on 9 January 2014
Having seen the Boomtown Rats live on their 2013 tour this collection was a no brainer.
A real blast from the past which brought back fond memories.
Every album covered with extra tracks too.
A great purchase
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