Compiled by rock critic and future Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye, 1972’s Nuggets was the anthology responsible for reviving interest in mid-’60s American garage rock. After the proliferation of specialized volumes with the Nuggets title by reissue label Rhino, this four-CD box set is intended as the ideal summation/expansion of the Nuggets concept. The first CD reproduces, track-by-track, the original 27-song Nuggets, while the other three CDs add what may be considered 91 bonus tracks, from the biggest-selling garage hits (“Louie Louie,” “Wooly Bully”) to some cuts that only devout ’60s specialists will know. All important permutations of the mid-’60s garage style are present: primitive fuzz, folk-rock, horn rock, psychedelic dementia, protest rock, etc. Major heroes the Music Machine, the Seeds, the Shadows of Knight, the Electric Prunes, the Standells, the Sonics, the Chocolate Watch Band, and many others are all represented, often by more than one song. If it’s possible to give a five-star rating with reservations, it’s tempting to do so here. No one could have possibly satisfied all rabid garage collectors with a mere 118 songs, but that’s not really the point here; the object was to provide a wide-ranging box set of ’60s garage rock that would entertain, represent the considerable span of garage styles, and be massive — yet affordable — for the committed rock fan who nonetheless doesn’t want everything. Rhino has succeeded, while also presenting the songs in the best possible quality (in mono), whether from the master tapes or best existing copies. With a 100-page booklet of new liner notes (Kaye’s original annotation is also included), it is the best investment possible for those who thirst for more ’60s garage rock than is available on the best single-volume compilations, with a track selection geared toward cream-of-the-crop quality and variety rather than narrow collector prejudices.
-Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com