There was not ever anything pretty about this band. I think coming up with the name The Pretty Things
was a twist of sarcasm and irony for these down an dirty British rockers that had a penchant for smiting the status quo. In the words of the immortal Bowie from his "Hunky Dory" album-"Oh you pretty things, don’t you know you’re driving your mother’s and father’s insane."
"The Rhythm & Blues Years" is an impressive history of the group’s recordings before they became the psychedelic progressive rockers they were destined to be. Classic tracks like "Rosalyn," "Roadrunner," and "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut" showed how the group could dig down deep and flaunt their talent for singing and playing some darned good from-the-belly blues based music.
Listening to all of this helped me to realize all the changes and evolution that the band went through in the sixties alone, not to mention the decades afterwards. To go from a basic rhythm and blues band to progressive rock geniuses in a matter of a few short years is a fabulous accomplishment. The fact that they have managed to stay together with minimal changes in their lineup is another feather in their cap, considering that they have been at it for over 40 years.
You could not ask for a more wide-ranging collection of the Pretties early material, in lieu of buying their entire catalog that is, and that would not be a bad idea either.