Tag: Compilation

Roger Miller – All Time Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Roger Miller 

TITLE: All Time Greatest Hits

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Top 10: Dang Me (#7 US, #1 Country), Chug-A-Lug (#9 US, #3 Country), King of the Road (#4 US, #1 Country, #1 UK), Engine Engine #9 (#7 US, #2 Country, #33 UK), One Dyin’ and a Buryin’ (#10 Country, #34 US), Kansas City Star (#31 US, #7 Country, #48 UK), England Swings (#8 US, #3 Country, #13 UK), Husbands and Wives (#26 US, #5 Country), Walkin’ in the Sunshine (#37 US, #7 Country), Little Green Apples (#39 US, #6 Country)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd, My Unlce Used to Love Me but She Died, Do Wacka Do

LINEUP: Roger Miller, Buddy Harman, Bob Moore, Ray Edenton and others

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Collection of the memorable hits from the country songwriter and funnyman.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Roger Miller not only was a major country personality, he was a songwriter that penned most of his own tracks and established a legacy with “King of the Road”.

In the mid-to-late 60’s, his songs were all over the radio, and he was a major television personality on variety and game shows, which led to acting roles and even work in Broadway later in life. For all that, he’s most remembered for his hits in 1964 and 1965.

He wanted to be a serious songwriter along with his funny stuff, but aside from “King of the Road” they weren’t as successful. Miller’s legacy is the funny stuff that kids loved, and a song about hobos.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: His original session lasted two days in 1964 and resulted in 1 ½ albums of material.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but there are other collections.

 GRADE B: You picks and chooses, but the funny stuff is his best.

 

Three Dog Night – Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story

ARTIST: Three Dog Night 

TITLE: Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Top 10: One (#5 US), Easy to Be Hard (#4 US), Eli’s Coming (#10 US), Mama Told Me Not to Come (#1 US, #3 UK), Joy to the World (#1 US, #24 UK), Liar (#7 US), An Old Fashioned Love Song (#4 US), Never Been to Spain (#5 US), Black and White (#1 US), Shambala (#3 US0, The Show Must Go On (#4 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Celebrate (#15 US), Try a Little Tenderness (#29 US) Sure As I’m Sittin’ Here (#16 US)

LINEUP: Chuck Negron, Danny Hutton, Cory Wells. The band usually was Jimmy Greenspoon, Floyd Sneed, Joe Schermie, and Michael Allsup

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Titanic hit makers in the late 60’s and early 70’s are featured in a pretty comprehensive collection, for better or worse.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Three Dog Night’s reign as a band that everyone could like (hippies, squares, and their parents) went from 1969 through 1974, with a top 5 record in each of those years. They had a tight band and a unique vocal blend, and they and their producers found great songs from unknown (and later known) songwriters.

Yet they were true singles artists. I don’t think they tried to just do hits + filler – but it seemed that the songs not chosen to be singles were definitely of lesser quality, and the originals (mostly instrumentals) were just…there. So a compilation is definitely the way to go. This one finds early material from Danny Hutton and Cory Wells, as well as a track when they were Brian Wilson’s protégés as Redwood.

Three Dog Night’s weaknesses (a bit bombastic, a bit rote in some arrangements) also come to fore in a long collection. There’s also some diminishing returns (drug abuse and staleness really laid the band out after 1972). Yet you can’t deny that when they were on, they made memorable hits and were a powerful, and uniting, commercial force.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Danny Hutton’s son was the tour drummer for Haim until 2017.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE A-: It may seem long for a casual fan (43 tracks), but it’s probably the best kind of overview for a band like this. All of the hits are here, and then people can pick and those the deep cuts they like.

 

Loggins & Messina – The Best: Sittin’ In Again

ARTIST: Loggins & Messina 

TITLE: The Best: Sittin’ In Again

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Vahevala (#84), Nobody but You (#86), You’re Mama Don’t Dance (#4), Watching the River Run (#71), Changes (#84)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: House at Pooh Corner, Danny’s Song, Long Tail Cat

LINEUP: Kenny Loggins, Jim Messina, session pros.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pop and folk rock duo compilation is released to support their 2005 tour.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Jim Messina, formerly of Poco and Buffalo Springfield, mentored youngster Kenny Loggins and they formed a duo that sold a lot of records and mellowed out a lot of people in the mid 70’s. You know them, and you may know their big songs.

Yet, for the fond memories of a few, most everything they did was mellow to the point of boredom, complete with cringy or way-too sentimental lyrics (“Danny’s Song”, oy!). Sometimes they extend a song way past it’s sell-by date (jammin’ man). Their mix of rock and country was interesting at times, but had all of the rough edges sanded off to the point of slickness.

For as much publicity and fond remembrance of the duo, the honest truth is that they were meh that fit into the too-laid-back 70’s scene that was addled a bit by substances. That’s my story, at least.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The duo also released two live albums, and one isn’t streaming. Neither is their final studio album. This collection also left off a few of Top 100 singles that weren’t going to be performed at their reunion shows.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE C: I exiled about half. I was generous, too.

The Idle Race – Back to the Story

ARTIST: The Idle Race                                             

TITLE: Back to the Story

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: No

SINGLES: Imposters of Life’s Magazine, Here We Go ‘Round the Lemon Tree, The End of the Road, The Skeleton and the Roundabout, Come with Me, Days of Broken Arrow, Neanderthal Man, In the Summertime

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only UK pop-psychedelic and ELO zealots, and I mean zealots.

LINEUP: Jeff Lynne, Greg Masters, Dave Pritchard, Roger Spencer. Mike Hopkins and Dave Walker later replaced Lynne.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Jeff Lynne’s band before the Move, and then ELO, shows him mining the exact same ground, but without a production budget.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The production’s not the best (bands that don’t sell singles have to make do with what they got then), and there’s a bit too much music hall (their first album, especially), but when you listen, you can hear Jeff Lynne through and through. The baroque touches, the evocation of the Beatles’ psychedelic era, the melodic sense – it’s Jeff Lynne all the way through.

This collection is a true compendium of the Idle Race. It’s everything they recorded for them, even the album that they put together after Lynne decamped for the Move in 1970. Now for non-zealots, you may want to skip around, and hit the part of the collection with their singles before diving in (the start of CD2), but for those curious in the development of ELO (and to marvel how long Lynne has been doing this – A LONG TIME!) this is good to pick up.

What’s sketchy is that third album, the one after Lynne left. The record company wanted them to release contemporary covers as singles, and they complied, and then gave them another album, but it’s far away from Lynne’s material.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The Idle Race developed from the Nightriders, a popular Birmingham (UK) club band that Lynne joined and soon took over and moved them toward the pop-psychedelic side.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: At first, two Nightriders tracks were on the compilation, but they disappeared when it was reissued.

 GRADE B: It’s got some charms, but you can easily compress it down to a collection of your liking.

Brinsley Schwarz – Surrender to the Rhythm

ARTIST: Brinsley Schwarz            R-3385050-1345775303-3534.jpeg

TITLE: Surrender to the Rhythm

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Country Girl, I Like It Like That, Silver Pistol, Happy Doing What We’re Doing, (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Trying to Live My Live Without You

LINEUP: Nick Lowe, Brinsley Schwarz, Ian Gomm, Bob Andrews, Billy Rankin

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Pub-rockers collection shows why they’re a historical footnote.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Students of the UK New Wave scene know that Brinsley Schwarz, the band, connects to Rockpile, Elvis Costello, and Graham Parker and the Rumour. Nick Lowe, the bassist and main songwriter / singer, got popular on his own as a performer and producer.

The band was one of the leaders of ‘pub rock’ movement, which was a live alternative to prog and glam played in small venues. While they spawned a lot of compatriots and evolved into the the UK New Wave movement, the music by Brinsley Schwarz is…bland.

They’re competent, they play well, and they’re mellow. Too mellow at times. There’s not a lot of energy, and the cover versions seem lazy. They’re more useful as a reference point than something to put on.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Yes, the band is named after their guitarist. They also had a disaster of a gig at the Fillmore in 1970 that’s legendary.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 

GRADE C: Disappointing to hear a historical band be this…blah.

Lush – Gala

ARTIST: Lush                                    220px-Lushgalalpcoverjpg

TITLE: Gala

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None – though Scar hit #3 UK Indie and Mad Love #55 UK Singles chart

SINGLES: Sweetness and Light  (#4 Modern Rock, #47 UK), De-Luxe (#14 Modern Rock)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover Hey Hey Helen 220px-Sweetness_and_Light_-_Lush

LINEUP: Miki Berenyi, Emma Anderson, Steve Rippon, Chris Acland. Phil Overhead helps on percussion.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the best of the first wave of shoegaze bands combines its early EPs into a compilation album.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Lush came out with several EPs before they recorded their first full-length, which was a pretty genius move since it allowed them quality control and development of their sound and material.

At first a UK Indie chart phenomenon, later they achieved mainstream success of sorts with “Sweetness and Light”and the Mad Love EP (which contained “De-Luxe”. The interlocking, hazy guitars of Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson give Lush a distinctive sound, coupled with the ethereal vocals of Berenyi. Unlike other shoegaze bands, the guitars are gentler, but still a wash of chords and distortion.  220px-Mad_Love_-_Lush

This collection whetted the indie rock appetite for Lush, as the shoegaze movement was gaining ground in the underground of the US even as grunge was taking over the alt-rock airwaves. It definitely is good to hear what the shoegaze fuss was about.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The collection is in reverse chronological order. 220px-Scar_-_Lush

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE A-: Some cuts are a bit draggy but when they’re focused they make excellent, gentle, clatter.

The Raspberries – Capitol Collectors Series

ARTIST: Raspberries           220px-RaspCapColl

TITLE: Capitol Collectors Series

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

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.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 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

CHART ACTION: No

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.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

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)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Long Day

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.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

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

CHART ACTION: None

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)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Probably not

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.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 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.