Tag: Compilation

The Raspberries – Capitol Collectors Series

ARTIST: Raspberries           220px-RaspCapColl

TITLE: Capitol Collectors Series

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Charting: Don’t Want to Say Goodbye (#86), Go All the Way (#5), I Wanna Be With You (#16), Let’s Pretend (#35), Tonight (#69), I’m a Rocker (#94), Overnight Sensation (Hit Record) (#18)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Doubtful, but some should be in the consciousness if the world was right.

LINEUP: Eric Carmen, Wally Bryson, Dave Smalley, Jim Bonfanti. Scott McCarl and Michael McBride were on their last album, and played on a few tracks here.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Power-poppers made inconsistent albums, but this one collects the best tracks from each one.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After reviewing one individual album and listening to others, the Raspberries were not consistent track over track and seemed to be more of a singles band. An issue is that Eric Carmen tended to go to maudlin ballads to fill time (just like in his solo career), and the other Raspberries had about a 50-50 chance of writing a dream or a dud.

Still, with this collection, you get the good stuff, and not the dross. (Well, mostly, as there are a couple of draggy ballads still hanging around.) Their hits are fantastic power pop, and the contenders (“Let’s Pretend”, “Tonight”, “Hard to Get Over a Heartbreak”, “Nobody Knows”) are coulda shoulda been hits had they gotten the promotion (or weren’t regulated to a B-side or an album cut).

Power poppers should grab this right away – but they probably already have it. As for the rest of you, you need to experience the depth of Carmen and his group. They were fantastic when they were on.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band formed from the remains of Cleveland bands The Choir and Cyrus Erie with Carmen forming the Quick after Cyrus Erie disbanded.


 GRADE A: I can take a mawkish ballad or two if it means the rest of this collection exists.

Karla Bonoff – The Best of Karla Bonoff: All My Life

ARTIST: Karla Bonoff                   512D5ZEjtjL._SX425_

TITLE: The Best of Karla Bonoff

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: I Can’t Hold On (#76), Baby Don’t Go (#69), Personally (#19)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not by her. Several artists covered her stuff.

LINEUP: Karla Bonoff and some of the best session players in LA

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Singer songwriter really had the songs, but somehow didn’t quite make it big – unlike her compatriot Linda Ronstadt.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: More known as a songwriter, unless you have “Personally” stuck in your head, Karla Bonoff’s recording career was beset by bad luck or bad timing or something. From the start of her career (with a band featuring Andrew Gold, Kenny Edwards, and Wendy Waldman) to the end, it just didn’t happen for her as it should.

It’s definitely an LA singer/songwriter album, with Bonoff leading a group of the best session players at the time through their paces. A lot of the songs have a tinge of melancholy and heartache – some resignation and loss also sneak in there. But her sense of melody and her voice is strong and the arrangements are spot on.

“Personally” is the one you probably knpw, but most of this is quite decent. If you’re into the LA scene of the late 70’s, you could do worse. And you probably did.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: In one of the biggest ironies in music, “Personally” wasn’t written by her. A performer more known for songwriting had her only success with a song she didn’t write. Hmmm.


GRADE B: There are a few things I exiled, and the whole thing isn’t streaming as a unit (but you can put it together if you wish).

Matchbox Twenty – Exile on Mainstream

ARTIST: Matchbox Twenty  Exile_on_Mainstream

TITLE: Exile on Mainstream

YEAR RELEASED: 2007 (it’s half new, half comp)

CHART ACTION: #3 US, #1 Alternative, #53 UK

SINGLES: New songs; How Far We’ve Come (#11 US, #157 UK), All Your Reasons, These Hard Times; Charting comp songs: Push (#38 UK), 3AM (#64 UK), Real World (#38 US, #92 UK), Back 2 Good (#24 US), Bent (#1 US), If You’re Gone (#5 US), Mad Season (#48 US, #76 UK), Disease (#29 US, #50 UK), Unwell (#5 US, #83 UK), Bright Lights (#23 US)


LINEUP: Rob Thomas, Brian Yale, Paul Doucette, Kyle Cook, Adam Gaynor. Ryan MacMillan played drums on the new cuts, as Gaynor left and Doucette went to guitar from drums.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Six new songs, 11 old ones. They’re pretty indistinguishable from each other.


SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: You look up at the singles, and you notice that “3 AM”, and “Push” aren’t charting on the Billboard chart. Well, they were just radio promo singles here. And did they get airplay! Matchbox Twenty were a safe rock alternative from all of the detuned downer mopers. Safe is the word.

Somehow labeled as “Alternative”, Matchbox Twenty is about as straightforward of mainstream rock as you got in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. They are what they are – crafted for airplay among many radio formats with the loud / soft dynamic, the acoustic to electric, the semi-acappela parts, and enough hooks to fill a fishing supply company.

It was interesting that the six new songs were appended to a greatest hits release. I didn’t say it was a good decision, since about half of those new songs are just…there.


NOTES & MINUTIAE: After this album, they took five years to release another. In fact, they released 4 ½ records in 16 years.




GRADE C+: It’s Matchbox Twenty. It’s mostly nostalgia now, and it’s oh, so safe.

Greg Kihn Band – “Best of Beserkley” ’75-’84

ARTIST: Greg Kihn Band             kihn

TITLE: “Best of Beserkley” ’75-‘84

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Charting: Remember (#105 US), The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em) (#15 US, #5 Mainstream), Sheila (#102 US, #39 Mainstream), The Girl Most Likely (#104 US, #57 Mainstream), Testify (#5 Mainstream), Happy Man (#62 US, #30 Mainstream), Jeopardy (#2 US, #5 Mainstream, #1 Dance, #63 UK), Love Never Fails (#59 US0, Reunited (#101 US, #9 Mainstream)


LINEUP: Greg Kihn, Steve Wright, Larry Lynch, Dave Carpender, Gary Phillips. Later Greg Douglass replaced Carpender. Robbie Dunbar was in the band very early.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Journeyman power popper had a couple of ‘one hit wonder’ records, but this compilation shows off his strengths in power-pop goodness.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: For a nine year period, Greg Kihn and his band did an album and a tour, and slowly built up a fan base who enjoyed his knack for melody and arrangement. Every song on here has redeeming qualities, and in the right universe could have been almost as big as his two well-known tracks.

The core of the band (Kihn, Wright, Lynch) stayed together for several years and built a bedrock for Kihn’s songs. While he was in the power-pop space, he never had one sound or locked-in style. Most everything is pleasant, and harmless.

Kihn is still playing today, as two hits means you can continue for life if you want. This is a good overview and should suffice for your Kihn needs.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Joe Satriani was in a later version of the band and played on one album.


 GRADE B+: It’s definitely a better compilation than you’d think – since nothing else but those two songs got airtime for the most part.

ABBA – The Essential Collection

ARTIST: ABBA                                      51shnmk3ERL._SX425_

TITLE: The Essential Collection

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Top 20: Waterloo (#6 US, #1 UK), I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do (#15 US, #38 UK), SOS (#15 US, #6 UK), Mamma Mia (#32 US, #1 UK), Fernando (#13 US, #1 UK), Dancing Queen (#1 US, #1 UK), Money Money Money (#56 US, #3 UK), Knowing Me Knowing You (#14 US, #1 UK), The Name of the Game (#12 US, #1 UK), Take a Chance on Me (#3 US, #1 UK), Chiquitita (#29 US, #2 UK), Summer Night City (#5 UK), Does Your Mother Know (#19 US, #4 UK), Voluez-Vouz (#80 US, #3 UK), Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (#3 UK), I Have a Dream (#2 UK), The Winner Takes It All (#8 US, #1 UK), Super Trouper (#45 US, #1 UK), Lay All Your Love On Me (#7 UK), One of Us (#107 US, #3 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Ring Ring, The Visitors

LINEUP: Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus. Session dudes, of course.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: It’s ABBA – the international pop music sensation that’s still a juggernaut today.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s almost like I don’t need to review this – you know most of the songs and the ones you don’t are just as memorable – probably.

Their regular albums were spotty (though “Hey Hey Helen” kicks it good), as they really focused on singles. The first four tracks here were from their debut (Ring Ring) and the rest follow from their Eurovision victory (“Waterloo”) and beyond. They started to slow down in the US (but not in the UK, really) when they called it quits

They’re pretty inescapable now, thanks to movies and musicals and what not. They constructed pretty much perfect pop singles – despite what you think of them you have to give them credit for that.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They were the first Eurovision winner to sing in a language other than their native country.


 GRADE A-: It’s one of the best comps out there for ABBA.


Robert Palmer – The Very Best of the Island Years

ARTIST: Robert Palmer            palmer

TITLE: The Very Best of the Island Years

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Top 40: Every Kinda People (#16 US, #53 UK), Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor) (#14 US, #61 UK), Looking for Clues (#105 US, #33 UK), Some Guys Have All the Luck (#59 Mainstream, #16 UK), Addicted to Love (#1 US, #1 Mainstream, #5 UK), Hyperactive (#33 US, #21 Mainstream), I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On (#2 US, #3 Mainstream, #9 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Man Smart Woman Smarter, Johnny and Mary. Simply Irresistible is here as a live track.

LINEUP: Robert Palmer. Early on he had help from the Meters and Little Feat then played with all kinds of session musicians

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A pretty complete overview of the best tracks from the UK singer that goes through all of his twists and turns.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Starting out as a blue-eyed soul with a tinge of reggae singer (the first three tracks here are the first three from his debut album and show off all of the styles), then moving towards pop, album rock, new wave, and finally the huge arena rock sound, Robert Palmer was definitely a chameleon.

Palmer’s career was up-and-down for the longest time until he formed the Power Station with refugees from Duran Duran and Chic. That success catapulted him into stardom, and his Riptide album, with “Addicted to Love” cashed in big time.

Still, Palmer’s albums were inconsistent, and hearing “Man Smart Woman Smarter”, you can’t really think it’s the same guy who sang “Bad Case of Loving You”, or “Johnny and Mary”. But he is.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: A lot of the other compilations are ‘remixed’ and those remixes were…not good. And after Riptide, his stuff declined.


GRADE B+: There’s some great stuff here, but it feels like product for the most part. Good product, but product just the same.

Tommy Roe – The Original ABC Recordings

ARTIST: Tommy Roe                  R-3729532-1486769683-9449.jpeg

TITLE: Greatest Hits – The Original ABC Hit Recordings

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Top 40: Sheila (#1 US, #3 UK), The Folk Singer (#84 US, #4 UK), Everybody (#3 US, #9 UK), Come On (#36 US), Sweet Pea (#8 US), Hooray for Hazel (#6 US), It’s Now Winter’s Day (#23 US), Dizzy (#1 US, #1 UK), Heather Honey (#29 US, #24 UK), Jam Up and Jelly Tight (#8 US), Stagger Lee (#25 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nah, the rest charted pretty low.

LINEUP: Tommy Roe and various sessioneers

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A compilation of the 60’s pop singer who survived through the many changes of the pop scene and kept having hits every couple of years.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: One thing that strikes you about Tommy Roe’s career is that there were three phases of his success. First it was 1963-64, then a comeback in 1966-67, then a final comeback in 1969 to 1970. Each time the style was a bit different, but they were all Tommy Roe composed and all fit in with the pop vernacular at the time.

The other striking thing is that as lightweight as the songs seem to be, they keep coming back as samples (the drum breaks, especially, and the organ sound). Then, the complexity of the songs will surprise you (“Dizzy” has 11 key changes and is in four keys overall).

These 18 tracks really do give an overview of pure AM radio pop in the 60’s and is surprising durable. Roe was never an album artist, but pumped out four or so singles a year, and when one hit, then they collected up an album from sessions.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This compilation goes through 1971, but he kept cranking out singles for a few years after with little success.


 GRADE A-: A load of earworms here.

Slade – Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Slade               slade

TITLE: Greatest Hits

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: All of em: Of Note: Coz I Luv You (#1 UK), Look Wot You Done (#4 UK), Take Me Back ‘Ome (*97 US, #1 UK), Mama Weer All Crazee Now (#76 US, #1 UK), Gudbuy T’Jane (#68 US, #2 UK), Cum On Feel the Noize (#98 US, #1 UK), Skweeze Me, Pleeze Me (#1 UK), My Friend Stan (#2 UK), Merry Xmas Everybody (#1 UK), Everyday (#3 UK), The Bangin’ Man (#3 UK), Far Far Away (#2 UK), My Oh My (#37 US, #3 UK), Run Runaway (#20 US, #7 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not unless you were in the UK and were a Slade-head

LINEUP: Noddy Holder, Jim Lea, Dave Hill, Don Powell

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Glam rockers, huge in the UK, barely made a ripple in the states until Quiet Riot covered them, and then they got their deserved hit.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Glam rock barely caused a fuss over here, except on rare occasions when singles by some artists hit the airwaves (Mott the Hoople, Sweet). No band was unjustly denied their rightful place over here more than Slade.

From mid 1971 through 1974, they released 12 singles in the UK, and every one of them hit #4 or higher, including six #1 singles. And they weren’t just copy cat hits (they did change it up a bit, honestly), they were solid songs like “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” (on a K-Tel record, even) and Gudbuy T’Jane. They ran out steam and by the punk era they were off the charts.

But they had more life in the early 80’s, as two singles hit the Top 10 again n the UK and gave the band their much deserved Top 40 hits in the US.

Sure, it’s kind of simple – memorable guitar riffs, Noddy Holder shouting about something, and the band chanting and stomping all around. What’s not to like?

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Originally, they felt the title they gave their first self-written single didn’t fit with the sound, and thus they named it “Coz I Luv You”. A career of spelling errors ensued.


GRADE A: I may have bumped this up a bit…but I mean, this is just packed with memorable shouters and bangers. What’s not to love?


Kim Mitchell – Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Kim Mitchell                    kimmitchell

TITLE: Greatest Hits

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Most all of these songs were in Canada. He had two charting ones here: Go For Soda (#86, #12 Rock) and Patio Lanterns (#36 Rock)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not in this country, but Canadians of an age would know most of these.

LINEUP: Kim Mitchell, Pye Dubois, and a couple of different groups of musicians depending on when.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Earnest Canadian rocker’s solo career (after a stint leading Max Webster) produced some enjoyable, but not essential, 80’s rock.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Either the Trailer Park Boys or Canadian radio stations would be the only points of entry to the world of Kim Mitchell. Perhaps, like me, you remembered “Go For Soda”, which is an enjoyable piece of rock that stood out in the 80’s because of what it wasn’t – hair metal, new wave, or new romantic.

Mitchell led Max Webster, a Canadian FM radio staple in the 70’s, before starting his solo career. This collection serves as a good overview of his peak period, and while at times he can fall into Foreigner territory (especially in the ballads – ick), his straight ahead rock songs are decent enough that won’t make you skip over the tracks.

Mitchell never got a foothold in the US, as only one LP charted here, but just go north of the border and they can remember his career fondly.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: His highest charting Canadian track was “America”, which hit #3 in 1992.


GRADE B-: I don’t have strong nostalgia for him (except “Go For Soda”), but I can see why he’s still remembered up in Canada and on their version of Classic Rock radio.

David Gray – Greatest Hits

ARTIST: David Gray                  David_Gray_Greatest_hits_Album_Cover (1)

TITLE: Greatest Hits

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Top 40: This Year’s Love (#20 UK), Babylon (#57 US, #5 UK), Please Forgive Me (#18 UK), Sail Away (#26 UK), The Other Side (#35 UK), Be Mine (#23 UK), The One I Love (#8 UK), Hospital Food (#34 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Shine (though this is live, another collection has a 25th anniversary version, which isn’t the original either. That’s on yet ANOTHER collection)

LINEUP: David Gray, Craig McClune, and others.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: This collection captures his hit making era, mostly, and it’s a decent introduction to the singer-songwriter.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After struggling for years to make it in a more acoustic manner, producing some unheard songs for his cult, Gray moved into an electric and electronic milieu, combining electronica and lush production with his songs.

Commercially, in the UK, it was a hit. Here in the states, he’s still a cult artist. These things happen.

Gray’s got a touch for melody and sings from the heart, but while the sheen of his production may have gotten him on the radio, in my ears it sounds a bit busy and over-produced.

There’s another, later, collection which has a later version of the song that introduced him (“Shine”), and a collection of his folkier stuff (which I like “Late Night Radio”) but this is as good as you’ll get for the most part.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The British press dubbed him ‘folktronica’, though only a few songs really fit that, and that’s because it has electronic drums.


GRADE B: The cult has all of his records, but for me, this is about all I need.