Tag: Compilation

Au Pairs – Stepping Out of Line: The Anthology

ARTIST: Au Pairs Steppingoutofline

TITLE: Stepping Out of Line: The Anthology

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None. Their original albums did chart in the UK

SINGLES: You, It’s Obvious, Inconvenience

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: We’re So Cool, Come Again

LINEUP: Jane Munro, Lesley Woods, Paul Foad, Peter Hammond

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Mined from the same vein as the Gang of Four, the Au Pairs jagged punk funk was focused mostly on feminism and sexuality.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The guitars are sharp and pointed, dishing out short small riffs, while the bass and drums keep up a funk rhythm. The vocals are strident, sometimes more commanding than singing (especially later), and no, this isn’t the Gang of Four – it’s Au Pairs. 220px-Playingwithadifferentsex

Lesley Woods spouts rails against sexism and advocates for feminists, with a touch of politics, while other guitarist Paul Foad tries to answer the best he can. Meanwhile, the stars are bassist Jane Munro and drummer Peter Hammond, who keep the grove going and the dance floor hopping.

This collection grabs everything they recorded, including BBC sessions. For the most part, there’s quality and distinction here, but the material tails off in both performance and quality during their second album (Woods sounds hoarse.) They broke up before their third album sessions in 1983, and that may have been for the best since their first statements were their best. 220px-SenseAndSensuality

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They delivered a rousing “Come Again” during Urgh! A Music War.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE B+: A sadly forgotten band except for post-punk scholars and die-hards. It brought feminism and discussions of sexual freedom to the scene.

Pat Benatar – Ultimate Collection

ARTIST: Pat Benatar 220px-Pat_Benatar_Ultimate_Collection

TITLE: Ultimate Collection

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Top 40: Heartbreaker (#23 US), We Live for Love (#27 US), Hit Me With Your Best Shot (#9 US), Treat Me Right (#18 US), Fire and Ice (#17 US), Promises in the Dark (#38 US), Shadows in the Night (#13 US, #50 UK), Little Too Late (#20 US), Looking for a Stranger (#39 US), Love Is a Battlefield (#5 US, #17 UK), We Belong (#5 US, #22 UK), Ooh Ooh Song (#36 US), Invincible (#10 US, #53 UK), Sex as a Weapon (#28 US, #67 UK), All Fired Up (#19 US, #19 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Hell Is for Children, I Need a Lover, Precious Time, Anxiety (Get Nervous), Le Bel Age

LINEUP: Pat Benatar, Neil Giraldo. Mostly Roger Capps, and Myron Grombacher, Scott St. Clair Sheets’ guitar gave way to Charlie Giordano’s keyboards in 1982 or so. Others filtered in after 1985 or so.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Rock ‘n’ roll singer with a tough exterior is a hit machine from 1979 to about 1987 or so.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Three top 10 singles, and three top 10 albums say one thing, but 9 top 40 albums and 15 top 40 singles say another. And the latter say more about Benatar’s influence and popularity than anything else.

She was a rocker without apology, and that may have hurt on pop radio a bit, but MTV came along at the right time for her, and she, along with husband Neil Giraldo, made that transition to videos work for her, using her sexuality and personality to great effect. She also has an ear for covers, tackling songs by the Rascals and Paul Revere & the Raiders.

This collection collects her singles and some important album cuts as well. As time went on, her material softened a bit, moving to pop and she was less interesting. She then tried genre experiments as well (four cuts from her jump blues album seems a bit much) before fading away. But for the fan, or even the casual fan, this is the best collection and mostly shows her strength.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: She was a singing waitress early in her career.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE A-: There’s a bit too much time spent on her later stuff, but all of her important work is here.

Jefferson Starship – Gold / Playlist: The Very Best of Jefferson Starship

ARTIST: Jefferson Starship Gold_Jefferson_Starship

TITLE: Gold / Playlist: The Very Best of Jefferson Starship

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation (s)

CHART ACTION: #20 US (Gold)

SINGLES: Top 40: Miracles (#3 US), With Your Love (#12 US), Count on Me (#8 US), Runaway (#12 US), Jane (#14 US, #13 UK), Find Your Way Back (#29 US, #29 UK), Be My Lady (#28 US), Winds of Change (#38 US), No Way Out (#23 US, #59 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Stranger, Layin’ it on the Line

LINEUP: Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Pete Sears, David Freiberg, Craig Chaquico. Marty Balin sang on their first four records. Mickey Thomas on the others (Slick missed one). Papa John Creach and John Barbata were also on the first four records, and Aynsley Dunbar and Donnie “Slugger” Baldwin on the later ones.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: “Let’s make a lot of money!”

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: At first, it wasn’t a total sell-out crash grab, as Marty Balin and Grace Slick wrote some interesting songs on their first two albums (“Caroline”, “Miracles”, “Fast Buck Freddy”, “Play on Love”). Then “Miracles” hit, and by gosh they loved that money. 71J8ovqYusL._SX522_

So they did the easy thing, releasing commercial album after commercial album, and after Marty Balin left, and Grace Slick took a sabbatical, they became just another rock band with a couple of great songs (“Jane” of course). Even with Slick back in the fold, they became more and more bland, and soon morphed into the vile thing called Starship.

The Gold compilation has 12 tracks (in its streaming form, on vinyl it was 10 with a single), and The Very Best of Jefferson Starship repeats some and adds tracks from their Mickey Thomas records, and avoids Starship entirely.

When you listen to classic Airplane, then stuff like “With Your Love”, you gotta shake your head, and admire the audacity of the sellout.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Balin left due to the aftermath of Grace Slick’s infamous drunken incident in Germany. But first, he sang “Light the Sky on Fire” (#66 US), which was used in the Star Wars Holiday Special. Yep.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. I myself had to make the Playlist stuff myself since that’s not streaming, and I added a couple of other tracks.

 GRADE B-: Baby boomer selling out for cash. Hmmm….

Bauhaus – 1979-1983

ARTIST: Bauhaus 220px-1979-1983_cover

TITLE: Bauhaus – 1979-1983

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: #36 UK

SINGLES: Eleven of the cuts 23 cuts were singles. Ziggy Stardust (#15 UK) and She’s In Parties (#26) were the only top 40 singles.

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Bela Lugosi’s Dead

LINEUP: Daniel Ash, David J, Kevin Haskins, Peter Murphy

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Seminal post-punk and goth band’s compilations explains, somewhat, why they were and are a friggin’ big deal to some people.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The cult of Bauhaus is greater than their work. While they were definitely releasing some good, influential, music, their actual output is a bit overrated by their devotees (like most cult artists).

Part of the lore of Bauhaus is their sudden, surprise breakup just while the US was getting some of their material available over here. That and a video for “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” hit MTV about the same time as well. (Things moved slowly over here, you know).

They were the start of the goth movement (though I place them more in post-punk) and about a zillion bands started in their wake. But some of their stuff just languishes in place and goes on much much too long.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The attention paid to Peter Murphy as a model and focal point of their videos didn’t sit well with the rest of the band.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Only the first half is streaming as a collection, but you can put together second part using their other compilations and studio albums.

 GRADE B: This is probably ALL you need by them, and more.

Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose – The Story of Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose

ARTIST: Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose R-3057605-1313699122.jpeg

TITLE: The Story of Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Charting: Treat Her Like a Lady (#3, #20 R&B), Too Late to Turn Back Now (#2, #5 R&B), I’m Never Gonna Be Alone Anymore (#37, #43 R&B), Don’t Ever Be Lonely (#23, #28 R&B), Let Me Down Easy (#96), I Just Can’t Stop Loving You (#104, #79 R&B), Big Time Lover (#88 R&B), Since I Found My Baby (#59 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: None

LINEUP: Carter Cornelius, Eddie Cornelius, Rose Cornelius. Billie Jo Cornelius joined in 1972. Session musicians did the playing.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Classic vocal-pop style soul that specialized in family vocal harmonies and softer songs (except for their first hit).

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Stomping out of the gate with 1971’s “Treat Her Like a Lady”, Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose (soon to add another sister), this Miami-based family band of singers had a nice chart run until 1973, and unlike their first hit they were smooth, mellow, and backed with copious strings and horns.

The songs and the arrangements were winners, though. Eddie Cornelius wrote the songs and Rose arranged the vocals. Yet their second album stiffed, and they quietly went away and broke up in 1976 when brother Carter joined a black Hebrew sect.

Unlike a lot of flash-in-the-pan groups with one or two hits, this record is solid from beginning to end. Sure some of the songs are derivative of each other, but there’s something there that elevates the lesser tracks away from filler status. For a brief time, this family was the sound of soul vocal pop.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Sister Rose was part of the Gospel Jazz Singers and went on Ed Sullivan.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE B+: A solid album for fans of “Too Late to Turn Back Now

Liquid Liquid – Slip In and Out of Phenomenon

ARTIST: Liquid Liquid R-1389990-1272761207.jpeg

TITLE: Slip In and Out of Phenomenom

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: Nooooooo

SINGLES: All tracks were singles or EPs

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Cavern was used in a sample

LINEUP: Salvatore Principato, Dennis Young, Richard McGuire, Scott Hartley

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A no-wave funk, dub, and dance outfit inspired later dance rock bands and one track was the basis for one of the best known early hip-hop tracks R-63186-1178240397.jpeg 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: They were name checked by the Rapture and LCD Soundsystem, and were mentioned in the same breath as ESG, A Certain Ratio, and Konk, Liquid Liquid’s sparse, percussion heavy funk was part of the no-wave scene as well as a burgeoning underground dance scene in New York.

The sparseness of the tracks (mostly bass, drums, and percussion with some other instruments and vocals as another instrument) allows you to focus on the grooves, and the grooves were intense. R-7635628-1562536341-5762.jpeg

If you love the groove and the sparse funk of early 80’s underground dance, this is revelatory.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “White Lines” By Grandmaster Flash used “Cavern” as a basis for the track. This also includes almost everything they recorded except for a 1984 single.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No R-95988-1389150472-1382.jpeg

GRADE A-: This may be too sparse for some, but it’s the basic building blocks of the 2000’s dance rock scene in NYC.

Sublime – Playlist Your Way

ARTIST: Sublime     R-5261319-1388976697-2044.jpeg

TITLE: Playlist Your Way

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Date Rape, What I Got (#1 Modern, #11 Mainstream, #71 UK), Santeria (#3 Modern), Wrong Way (#3 Modern), Doin’ Time (#87 US, #11 Modern)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Caress Me Down

LINEUP: Brad Nowell, Eric Wilson, Bud Gaugh. Marshall Goodman played on early tracks.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the best distillations of Sublime.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Sublime had moments of goodness and greatness surrounded by puerile and immature tracks, skits, and what not. They didn’t really have a purge button, yet. So this may be the best collection for the novice.

This has all of the hits and best songs from Sublime and 40 oz. to Freedom (skipping Robbin’ the Hood for some reason, but that’s not much of a loss except for one track). It’s their high points in one package, where Brad Nowell’s songs are tight and propulsive and the band is focused and cooks.

Missing “Saw Red” (with Gwen Stefani), it’s not a perfect collection, but it’s better than the others around (which are sparse or too huge with rarities, etc.) It shows a band maturing into their own, ready to take the leap, which sadly didn’t happen.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers produced a great chunk of their last album.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE A-: Just think of the potential after these songs, and realize that heroin sucks.

 

Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels – Rev Up: The Best of Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels

ARTIST: Mitch Ryder  ryder

TITLE: Rev Up: the Best of Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Jenny Take a Ride (#10 US, #33 UK), Little Latin Lupe Lu (#17 US), Break Out (#62 US), Takin’ All I Can Get (#100 US), Devil with a Blue Dress On (#4 US), Sock It To Me Baby (#6 US), Too Many Fish in the Sea (#24 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover Shake a Tail Feather

LINEUP: Mitch Ryder, John Badanjek, Mark Manko, Joe Kubert, Jim McCarty, Jim McAllister. For one track, the Wheels were actually Booker T. & the MGs.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Fun!

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This compilation grabs 18 classic Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels tracks (and two from the later incarnation as just Detroit, which I’ll review at a later date), and there’s a party in every track. Whether it’s a deeper cut, or a known single, Ryder puts everything into his vocals, and the band cooks.

In less than three years, Ryder and the Wheels cemented their place in rock and soul’s pantheon, taking cues from the soul music emanating from Detroit and adding some gravelly rock and roll to it. It swings, it parties, it’s fun.

And isn’t fun the whole point?

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The ride ended when Ryder went solo on the advice of Bob Crewe (of Four Seasons fame) and saddled him with goopy stuff to sing.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE A: FUN!

Montrose – The Very Best of Montrose

ARTIST: Montrose montrose

TITLE: The Very Best Of Montrose

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Rock Candy, Bad Motor Scooter, I Got the Fire, Rock the Nation, Space Station #5. Music Man, Jump On It

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh, I doubt it

LINEUP: Ronnie Montrose. First album had Sammy Hagar, Denny Carmisi, and Bill Church. Alan Fitzgerald replaced Church. Bob James replaced Hagar and Jim Alcivar added keyboards. Montrose regrouped a band in the 80s with guys from Gamma and Buster Brown

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Former Edgar Winter guitarist forms his own band, rocks out, gets bored, and what was promising dies on the vine.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ronnie Montrose could sling an axe, as he proved for Edgar Winter, Van Morrison and others. Leaving Winter, he formed Montrose and released a debut album which gained some fans in the hard rock world, but had no sales to speak of.

Montrose’s records were mainly spotty with some bursts of innovation and fire, and then low spots with second-rate material. (Sammy Hagar wrote perhaps their best song, “Bad Motor Scooter”, not Montrose).  Sure, there are moments, but when Bob James took over for Hagar, it was all over for the most part. Then there was a 80’s glammy band. No thanks.

For the most part, this collection is all you need, and even then you have to be judicious. Montrose could have been a classic band, but it was not meant to be.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Montrose expected sobriety from his band members, after he had a near-lethal overdose.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

 GRADE B-: With good material, they were great. But the good material diminished as time went on.

Lene Lovich – Lucky Number (The Best Of)

ARTIST: Lene Lovich

TITLE: Lucky Number (The Best Of)

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Charting: Lucky Number (#3 UK), Say When (#19 UK), Bird Song (#39 UK), What Will I Do Without You  (#58 UK), New Toy (#19 Dance, #53 UK), It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz) (#25 Dance, #68 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I Think We’re Alone Now, Home, Be Stiff

LINEUP: Lene Lovich, Les Chappell. Justin Hildreth, Nick Plytas, Jeff Smith, and Mark Hayward-Chapman helped on most of the songs.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Quirky Stiff Records “star” used her quirky voice and look to make an impression.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: By the time MTV came along, “Lucky Number” was three years old, and Lovich was prepping a new album (her third). But then “Lucky Number” got a lot of play, and introduced her to the US. It also stopped her momentum (that and buffoonery at Stiff). Alas.

This compilation compiles tracks from her Stiff Records era, which are all examples of New Wave, with dance rhythms, keyboards galore, dramatic arrangements and Lovich’s vocal quirks.

Surprisingly, there’s not really a down spot of the compilation even though it’s 22 tracks long (!) because Lovich and her partner / producer Les Chappell kept things varied and lively.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Born in Detroit as Lilli-Marlene Premilovich.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE A-: Great and varied collection of a new wave touchstone.