Rollin' [Bonus Tracks]

by: The Bay City Rollers

Kicking off 2004's long-overdue restoration of the classic Bay City Rollers catalog, Rollin' -- the group's first U.K. album, from 1974 -- captures the band at their pop purest as a string of hits slam to head-to-head with a joyous mix of covers and soundalike originals. The original, superior, version of "Saturday Night" notwithstanding, the most obvious point of entry is the three monster 45s that ushered in Rollermania -- "Remember," "Shang-A-Lang," and "Summerlove Sensation." But the album as a whole rises high above the somewhat shabby treatment history traditionally metes out to the group. Certainly, they were crass, undoubtedly they were manipulative, and, ultimately, they were manipulated. But, they played their own instruments, they wrote their own songs, and, though they did turn to outside help for the biggest (and best) of their records, still you could line the Rollers up alongside any better-feted power pop group of the age without any disgrace or diminishing of fun. The original Rollin' stretches to a dozen tracks; the bonus CD version adds four more, the B-sides of each of the aforementioned singles -- at least one of which, "Bye Bye Barbara," could itself have proved a major hit. The packaging, too, is a joy, matching sympathetic liners with a clutch of period memorabilia. ~ Dave Thompson

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