Audio Remasterers: Dave Schultz; Bill Inglot.
Liner Note Author: Andrew Sandoval.
The Turtles have been anthologized many times over the years -- Rhino released a near-definitive single-disc set in 1984 called The Turtles' Greatest Hits, which they later expanded into the double-disc Solid Zinc: The Turtles Anthology in 2002; once those fell out of print, Shout! Factory followed through with 2004's Happy Together: The Very Best of the Turtles -- but Flo & Eddie's own 2016 compilation All the Singles may be the best of the batch. What makes this set so appealing is that it marches through the discography of this singles-oriented band a 7" at a time, an approach that highlights their diversity and progression. Sometimes, the group indulged in excesses -- it's hard to tell whether "Rugs of Woods and Flowers" is a sendup of prog rock or an attempt to ride its coattails -- but part of the charm of the Turtles is how they were so willing to try anything, to twist trends to their favor and push the mainstream forward. More than anything, All the Singles highlights the idiosyncrasies of the Turtles, how they became emboldened by success to send up the idea of a mainstream pop band without ever losing sight of delivering the goods. Happy Together covers nearly the same ground -- and there's considerable overlap between the two compilations -- but All the Singles is preferable due to its focus on 45s, letting the story unfold a 45 at a time, accentuating how the band existed just above the fray of pop; they belonged to the Top 40 but also commented on the proceedings. The hits start to slow on the second disc -- the biggest are "Elenore" and "You Showed Me" -- but the craft heightens, with the results sounding richer than the insistent folk-rock on the first disc. Either way, All the Singles showcases a band that wasn't like any other in the '60s: a sharp, sophisticated outfit who recognized the shenanigans of the charts, but always wanted to send it up from within. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine