The Best of a Decade

rating icon 7 / 10

Track listing:

01. The Wild One
02. Hard Being Me
03. Lights Out (live)
04. Saving Me
05. Daylight Goes To Town
06. Let It Roll (live)
07. This Kids (live)
08. Heavenly Body
09. Helldriver
10. Too Hot To Handle (live)
11. Mr. Freeze
12. Shoot Shoot (live)
13. Black And Blue
14. Can't Buy A Thrill
15. Baby Blue
16. Doctor Doctor (live)

These "best-of" packages are always a bit maddening to review, especially when the band in question is one with 40 years of history and a slew of compilation releases under its belt already. That UFO is one of the best, most underrated classic rock acts of all time and one whose 21st Century material is high grade stuff is basically irrelevant in this context. However, if you want an album that brings together the best of the Vinnie Moore era thus far, then you really can't go wrong with "The Best of a Decade".

First of all, the "decade" part is somewhat misleading, as it is only music from the releases on which Vinnie Moore played that are included. That aside, "The Best of a Decade" does include the best studio tracks from "You Are Here", "The Monkey Puzzle", and "The Visitor", as well as live versions of older UFO classics, which you can also experience on the live CD/DVD "Showtime". You can argue that certain tunes were left off that should have been included, but you can't please everybody. Musically speaking, the Moore-era of the band is definitive for the blues rock purity of it all, including a rich soulfulness from Phil Mogg that has never sounded better. His command of inflection, pattern, and pointed emphasis is second to none. From the more vintage UFO sound of "The Wild One" to the R&B strut of "Daylight Goes to Town" and "Hard Being Me" and the sizzle of "Mr. Freeze", this is a band that has never sounded more confident, at least from the standpoint of embracing the essence of British blues rock. As far getting off your ass and digging the groove are concerned, you can't do much better than "Helldriver" and "Black and Blue", the latter featuring a chorus that is downright addictive. And few tracks are more heartfelt than "Can't Buy a Thrill". Regardless of individual track selections, the flow of music on this album is surprisingly cohesive.

Then there is the argument pertaining to whether we really need another UFO album with live versions of "Lights Out" (perhaps the definitive UFO cut),"Too Hot to Handle", and other staples. The answer is "probably not". Perhaps live versions of other songs from the Moore-era albums would have been a more inviting choice and given the purchaser more bang for the buck. Be that as it may, I've a hard time slamming an album with so much great music from such a great band. So if you love UFO no matter what they release and are basing your opinion solely on the music, then give "The Best of a Decade" an 8.5. Any of the three studio releases wouldn't rate quite that high. Collectively, the selections chosen for compilation here do deserve such a rating. If you think it is way too early to be releasing a "best of" collection from the Moore era of the group and find it ludicrous to release another batch of classic live tunes on top of it then give it a 5. I'll go with a 7, mainly because I can.

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