Okay, first things first. If you’ve never heard of Leeds-based Cud, this massive four-CD set isn’t the starting place for you–your best bet is 2006 anthology Rich and Strange. It’s a great collection, compiling the best of the entirety of their career.
For the hardcore Cud-dets, though, this is a great collection that captures the band live, which served the band much better than their studio recordings. If one word could describe this kinda-baggy, kinda-grebo band, it’s enjoyable. The songs flow with an energy that Cud never quite satisfactorily captured in the studio. Lead singer Carl Putnam is a very energetic, enigmatic frontman, while the band’s distinctive bass lines (courtesy William Potter) propel the band into a wonderfully psychedelic, hypnotic place. It’s no surprise, then, that the band’s shows were packed, even though their records didn’t really sell that great.
What these recordings do offer, though, is a surprising choice of live covers. Their cover of Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing” appears twice, proving to have been a popular early number. Other great covers include Roky Erickson‘s “Starry Eyes,” Jethro Tull‘s “Living In The Past,” and Madonna‘s “Like a Virgin.” All are performed with reverence, all while coated in Cud’s sense of fun and play.
Though this box set isn’t for everyone–it’s not meant to be an introduction–it’s still a fun set of a fun band that is, apparently, back together.