“The Best Of A Decade” by UFO

Artist: UFO
Title: “The Best Of A Decade”
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 9/28/2010
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 3/5

It doesn’t seem like too long ago that we got a comprehensive collection of UFO classics but that would come care of a different label, and since those vintage years the band has continued on under the SPV Records brand and been keeping the releases coming at full strength. The band is still fronted by the legendary Phil Mogg who is accompanied by Paul Raymond on rhythm guitar and keyboards while Andy Parker is once again on the drums. For a few years the skin basher had been replaced by Jason Bonham who did a stand up job and the role of bassist is a rotating thing based on original member Pete Way’s inability to tour. I’ve seen shows where Rob DeLuca of Spread Eagle was handling these duties and also at times Barry Sparks. Since 2004 the band has entrusted the guitar detail to a true virtuoso in Vinnie Moore and that is a welcome thing considering just how much praise is heaped upon the name of their most influential member in that role – Michael Schenker. Vinnie has recorded three studio albums with the band so far and from earliest to most recent those are “You Are Here”, “The Monkey Puzzle” and “The Visitor”. He is also found on their DVD/CD live release “Showtime” and hence is the guitarist found on all of the numbers in this compilation and believe me he does a superb job at the task. These later studio albums and the live effort showcased a band that still had a lot to say musically and they are saying it well. I guess under those circumstances it is acceptable to find a best of being released in celebration of the past decade in the bands history.

Yet here is where they are losing me on the release. The three studio albums are strong but yet do not at all come close to the legendary status of their earlier catalog. How could they when one considers the time that it was in music or the players that were involved in those recordings. The collection from the past decade touches upon all three of the studio albums and the live release and interestingly enough the live tunes make up six of the inclusions and are from the bands vintage repertoire. Its great that it lets the newer fan hear how the band will sound today in terms of a concert but that leaves only ten songs across the other three studio albums and they are worthy of a little more representation. I loved “The Wild One” and “When Daylight Comes To Town” from “You Are Here” and that release gets four of the remaining ten tracks which leaves three apiece from both “The Monkey Puzzle” and “The Visitor”. I think I would have preferred that this be delivered as studio only tracks with perhaps a second CD of live classics from the current lineup as doing so little from each of the three albums made me feel that the band is not confident in their material or these recordings. It’s not true of course but that can be a perception even though Moore and Mogg have proven themselves to be a solid writing team during their time together. There is an eight page booklet included that I liked quite a bit based on the number of photos it presents of the band in action over the past ten years along with numerous show posters and album covers. There are also some up to date liner notes about their recent history. My rating is left at “Good” since I felt this could have delivered just a little bit more.

The band on the whole is still vitally important to the world of Hard Rock and I think in some sense are still influencing the up and coming musicians along with many established bands. While their vintage years were more powerful, they are still a great force for the genre and remind us of this on the collection. This release is a good one and provides solid Hard Rock and Roll but it is by no means great to the fans that already have these albums. I advise that the new fans pick this up and also look into that definitive collection that was mentioned at the beginning.

Track Listing:
1. The Wild One
2. Hard Being Me
3. Lights Out (live)
4. Saving Me
5. Daylight Goes To Town
6. Let It Roll (live)
7. This Kids (live)
8. Heavenly Body
9. Hell Driver
10. Too Hot To Handle (live)
11. Mr. Freeze
12. Shoot Shoot (live)
13. Black And Blue
14. Cant Buy A Thrill
15. Baby Blue
16. Doctor Doctor (live)

Official Website: http://www.ufo-music.info/

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