Tag: Compilation

Ginuwine – Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Ginuwine            220px-Ginuwine_-_Greatest_Hits_(LQ)

TITLE: Greatest Hits

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: #42 R&B

SINGLES: Top 10: Pony (#6 US, #1 R&B, #16 UK), What’s So Different (#49 US, #21 R&B, #10 UK), So Anxious (#16 US, #2 R&B), None of Ur Friends Business (#48 US, #7 R&B), Differences (#4 US, #1 R&B), Stingy (#33 US, #7 R&B), Hell Yeah (#17 US, #16 R&B, #27 UK), In Those Jeans (#8 US, #3 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Get it together, it’s Ginuwine

LINEUP: Ginuwine and producers + session musicians

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A good overview of the R&B singer’s early successes.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After his fifth album laid an egg, Epic Records decided the best thing to do with Ginuwine was to wrap up his career with the lable with a best-of collection.

This fits, as in listening to the regular Ginuwine albums, he tends to put skits and extra un-musical items onto his album tracks, which disturbs the flow and caused me to eject the rest of his catalog in favor of this collection.

It’s not the perfect overview, but it’s good enough for now and we can wait for another, fuller, compilation later – at least we can hope.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: I was in process of reviewing his second album, but the skits and extra material was just too much to deal with.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but there’s a UK version with added tracks and a different order.

GRADE: B: If you’d combine the US and UK versions, this would be a higher letter grade, maybe.

 

The Scorpions – Best of Scorpions / Best of Scorpions, Vol. 2 / Gold

ARTIST: Scorpions                                        220px-BestOfScorpions

TITLE: Best of Scorpions / Best of Scorpions Vol.2 / Gold

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation(s)

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: In Trance, Speedy’s Coming, Virgin Killer, Pictured Life, He’s a Woman-She’s a Man, Sailes of Charon, All Night Long

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Maybe?

LINEUP: Klaus Meine, Rudolf Schenker. Most cuts had Uli Jon Roth and Francis Bucholz. Michael Schenker was on one track and wrote others. Herman Rarebell, Wolfgang Dziorky, Rudy Lenners, and Jurgen Rosenthal were the drummers (among others).

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Mishmosh of compilations cover the RCA years for the Scorpions. 220px-The_Best_of_Scorpions_Vol._2

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Scorpions, Germany’s longest lasting hard rock / metal band, had two decades where they were one of the best known bands in Europe, and built a fan base over the years in the US that resulted in a mid-80’s explosion before throwing it all away in the late 80’s with a turn towards more pop than metal.

Their 70’s catalog, featuring Uli Jon Roth on lead guitar (for the most part) mixed prog elements with hard rock, and Roth was an inventive guitarist adding surprising elements to the mix. While they had questionable taste in record covers (they blamed RCA for the most part – and one album shut down Wikipedia for four days in the UK at one point), and their albums weren’t so consistent track-for-track, the best tracks definitely stand up.

YET – their 70’s streaming is a mess. Two full albums (their first, which has just one track on any of these comps – and their third) are streaming, and the comps are EXCEPT for one song – the killer “He’s a Woman – She’s a Man”. The seminal live album Tokyo Tapes isn’t streaming either. 51HDAZ4KC8L

The comps don’t replace the full albums in a sense to get what the Scorps were about in the 70’s, but they have to do for now. And someone explain to me why “He’s a Woman…” isn’t streaming.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Michael Schenker was on their first album before UFO scooped him up and they got Uli Jon Roth. Roth left after Tokyo Tapes so these comps encapsulate that era. Gold is mixed with both RCA and EMI recordings.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B: Each of the comps isn’t perfect. You could Frankenstein the best cuts for yourself, and there’s enough to do so. But damnit, stream the whole albums guys – especially Tokyo Tapes (which I’ll review itself).

 

Superchunk – Tossing Seeds (Singles 89-91)

ARTIST: Superchunk           Superchunk_tossing

TITLE: Tossing Seeds (Singles 89-91)

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: The A-sides: What Do I, Slack Motherfucker, Fishing, The Breadman, Seed Toss

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: My Noise, Cool

LINEUP: Mac McCaughan, Laura Balance. Jim Wilbur and Jack McCook are on guitar. Chuck Garrison plays most of the drums until the final single, where it’s Jon Wurster.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Singles compilation catches fans up on Superchunk, and is an essential snapshot of the early band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While their second album is essential in its own right (and only has one track here, not counting a different version of “Cast Iron”), this collection is a better representative of early Superchunk than their first album.

Here, the band shows love for its influences (the Shangri-Las, Sebadoh, and obscure punk) and the 7” medium (start the song, make your statement, get out).  Tracks like “Slack Motherfucker”, “Fishing”, and “Cool” are anthems for that generation (which was my generation, to be honest, so this does resonate with me) and were great bursts for college radio and other places hip singles could be played.

As with any collection like this, not every B-side or track given to a comp is the best, but this is not just for completists. It’s worthwhile for any Superchunk or rock fan, really.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: One track from their Freed Seed single didn’t make this compilation (their version of Sebadoh’s “I Believe in Fate”)

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: I’d grab this over their first album for sure.

Deee-Lite – The Very Best of Deee-Lite

ARTIST: Deee-Lite                                                      deeelite

TITLE: The Very Best of Deee-Lite

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Groove is in the Heart (#4 US, #1 Dance, #2 UK), Power of Love (#47 US, #1 Dance, #25 UK), ESP (#7 Dance), Good Beat (#1 Dance, #53 UK), Pussycat Meow (#6 Dance), Party Happening People (#30 Dance), Picnic in the Summertime (#43 UK), Bring Me Your Love (#1 Dance)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nah.

LINEUP: Supa DJ Dmitry, Lady Kiss Kier, Towa Tei. DJ Ani was on their final album. Guests like Bootsy Collins and Q-Tip also appear.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Dance act was seen as a novelty by most but introduced club, house, and DJ culture to the masses.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: You know “Groove Is in the Heart” and probably nothing else, but Deee-Lite wasn’t a one-hit wonder on the dance floors.

Their albums were spotty, but when they nailed a concept and a groove (such as in “Power of Love” and “Good Beat”) they were a righteous good-time dance party. As time wore on they shifted from good-times into a bit more social and political dance grooves, and their pop audience filtered away.

This is a good overview, and hits all of the high notes. At the end, it gets a bit repetitive, but dance band records are best in mixes or playlists.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They still DJ (separately), and Towa Tei moved back to Japan and started a high-concept party place for musicians.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B: This shows they were more than one-hit wonders.

Mariah Carey – Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Mariah Carey        220px-Greatest_Hits_Mariah_Carey

TITLE: Greatest Hits

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: #52 US, #7 UK

SINGLES: Well, most all of these tracks.

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Most everyone.

LINEUP: Mariah Carey and countless sidemen, producers, etc.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Diva’s collection of early hits. Essential for a Carey or 90’s pop / R&B fan. The rest of us can take or leave.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is a record where criticism is kind of fruitless. This is absolutely essential for fans (her albums are fine, but really, the deep cuts kind of fall away), and those that like 90’s pop. The songwriting and production machine, with Carey’s voice, made her a powerhouse.

The early sound is VERRRRY late 80’s, almost embarrassingly so. But the singing and melodies carry it. Yes, “Fantasy” is basically a total rip of “Genius of Love” but I think the Tom Tom Club got paid big time.

This isn’t in my wheelhouse so I exiled a lot. I can find here predictable, and her ballads overwrought and overly sentimental. But, fans dig that. Fine.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This ends at 2001. There’s not a good collection of her later hits.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B+: I can’t say it’s wonderful, nor can I say it’s crap. It’s really good for what it is and what you want from her.

Queen Latifah – She’s a Queen: A Collection of Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Queen Latifah                       220px-She's_A_Queen_album_cover

TITLE: She’s a Queen: A Collection of Greatest Hits

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Charting: Ladies First (#64 R&B, #5 Rap, #38 Dance), Come Into My House (#81 R&B, #21 Rap, #7 Dance), Latifah’s Had It Up 2 Here (#13 R&B, #8 Rap), UNITY (#23, #7 R&B, #3 Rap), Just Another Day (#54, #37 R&B, #11 Rap), Black Hand Side (#29 R&B, #20 Rap), It’s Alright (#76), Paper (#50, #23 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nah

LINEUP: Queen Latifah with guests Monie Love, Organized Noize, and Tha’ Raine and producers.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Overview of the hip-hop era of Queen Latifah, which seems slight.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Queen Latifah recorded four albums and several soundtrack cuts, and entered pop culture as a strong female in a very male dominated genre. Yet, the compilations for this era are quite sparse, and don’t have the depth you’d expect for an artist with this much cache.

Latifah’s moved on to bigger and better things, and has made more of an impact now as an actress and singer, but this era needs to be explored more. The original albums are still out there, so perhaps that’s where one should go to really flesh out her catalog.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Her charting positions don’t indicate her impact – her highest charting album in this era hit #60 on the Top 200, and only one was a Top 10 Rap album.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, there’s a smaller collection out there with only 10 songs and four tracks not on this collection – why not combine them?

GRADE: B-: The grade is for the slight selection, which makes a B+ possibility a B-.

Better Than Ezra – Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Better Than Ezra                      220px-BetterThanEzraGreatestHits

TITLE: Greatest Hits

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Charting: Good (#30 US, #1 Modern, #3 Mainstream,  #108 UK), In the Blood (#48 US, #4 Modern, #6 Mainstream), Rosealia (#71 US, #24 Modern), King of New Orleans (#62 US, #5 Modern, #7 Mainstream), Desperately Wanting (#48 US, #11 Modern, #10 Mainstream), One More Murder (#32 Modern), At the Stars (#78 US, #17 Modern), Extra Ordinary (#35 Modern)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover “Laid” by James.

LINEUP: Kevin Griffin, Tom Drummond. Cary Bonnecaze and Travis McNabb were on druims.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Is this the most generic 90’s rock band?

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “Good” was a good modern radio track in the 90’s, and was different enough to make it stand out from the Nirvana / Pearl Jam wanna-be pack. Yet…

While not being clones of both of those bands, as you listen to this collection, you realize that “Good” was an anomaly, and most of the rest of their material is just generic 90’s rock with all the 90’s rock tricks. I mean, there’s nothing WRONG with it, and I’m putting it in my catalog since it’s decent enough, but it’s just average.

At times, they sound just like The Gin Blossoms, which if you want to know the truth, is kind of the kiss of mediocrity.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This collection covers their first four major studio albums and their self-released rarities and oddities collection.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C+:  Up a tick for “Good”, down a skosh for a pointless cover of “Laid” (they sound like a very good bar band covering it…)

Elvis Presley – From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential 60’s Masters

ARTIST: Elvis Presley                                                    220px-Elvis_Presley_-_From_Nashville_to_Memphis_-_The_Essential_60s_Masters_Coverart

TITLE: From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential 60’s Masters

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Top 10: Stuck on You (#1, #27 Country, #6 R&B), It’s Now or Never (#1), Are You Lonesome Tonight (#1, #22 Country, #3 R&B), Surrender (#1), I Feel So Bad (#5), His Latest Flame (#4), Little Sister (#5), Good Luck Charm (#1), She’s Not You (#3), Devil in Disguise (#3), In the Ghetto (#3, #60 Country), Suspicious Mind (#1), Don’t Cry Daddy (#6, #13 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Big Boss Man, Guitar Man, US Male, Rubberneckin’, etc.

LINEUP: Elvis and a bunch of session guys and gals.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A document of every non-soundtrack, non-religious master recording Elvis completed in the 60’s. It’s a great historical document of the fall and rise of a rock-and-roll icon.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Wisely omitting the myriad soundtrack albums, and allowing his gospel records to have their own collections, RCA documented every strictly studio album and single master take here.

It shows a performer coming back into the spotlight, and instead of continuing his run of excellence, starts to wind down into predictable fare soon after he really started to crank out movies. His studio sessions became rote, with the obsolete sounds and tired clichés.

Then, somehow, a renaissance occurred. No doubt, it was connected to his ‘comeback’ special, but the latter part of Disc 3 and Disc 4 shows a lot more fire and verve. Disc 4 is composed of his Nashville sessions, and most every track is hot, showing his talent as an interpreter.

Ending with his last great peak, this collection of Elvis masters is interesting for the fan, but maybe a bit much for the casual listener.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Some tracks on soundtrack albums are here, since they weren’t recorded for the movie but used to ‘pad’ out the movie soundtrack. RCA milked Elvis for all he was worth.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 

GRADE: A-:  There’s a lot of skippable tracks here for the casual fan, but Disc 4 is well worth the price.

Das EFX – The Very Best of Das EFX

ARTIST: Das EFX                             dasefx

TITLE: The Very Best of Das EFX

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: They Want EFX (#25, #5 R&B, #1 Rap), Mic Cheka (#22 R&B, #1 Rap), Freakit (#43, #24 R&B, #6 Rap), Baknaffek (#98 R&B, #44 Rap), Real Hip-Hop (#61, #48 R&B, #10 Rap), Microphone Master (#86, #39 R&B, #5 Rap), Rap Scholar

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Jussummen

LINEUP: Dray, Skoob. Guests Mobb Deep, Redman, KRS-One

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Tounge twisting innovators compilation shows the inventiveness, and then the scramble to keep relevant.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: 1992 seems long, long ago in terms of hip-hop. That’s when Das EFX came out with their inventive, playful rap using their own tongue-twisting language and freestyle rhymes.

In a couple of years, they were yesterday’s news, with other imitators and those who were just as inventive displacing the duo in the rap consciousness. Soon, they sounded like almost every other rap act – a good act with decent rhymes and flow – but nothing special or innovative.

Contact issues and the times stalled their careers, but their first few singles are a delight for any rap fan.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They were on Ice Cube’s “Check Yo Self” (“Chiggedy-check yo self before yo wriggedy-wreck yo self”)

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B:  Remember them as innovators.

The Emotions – The Best of the Emotions: Best of My Love

ARTIST: The Emotions           emotions

TITLE: The Best of the Emotions: Best of My Love

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Flowers (#87 US, #16 R&B), I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love (#51 US, #13 R&B, #40 UK), Best of My Love (#1 US, #1 R&B, #4 UK), Don’t Ask My Neighbors (#44 US, #7 R&B), Smile (#102 US, #6 R&B), Walking the Line (#58 R&B), Boogie Wonderland (#6 US, #2 R&B, #4 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Doubt it.

LINEUP: Wanda Hutchinson, Sheila Hutchinson, Jeanette Hutchinson sang on half, then she was replaced by here sister Pamela Hutchinson. Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire produced these tracks and EWF and session musicians played on them.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Minor Stax / Volt vocal group hooks up with Maurice White and churns out a few albums of hits, including THE hit of 1977.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Hutchinson family had deep musical roots, and the Emotions were the vocal group formed by three of the sisters. In 1969, they had a big R&B hit with “So I Can Love You” on Volt, and then kicked around Stax / Volt for a while on the fringes of success, for some reason.

Then the sisters hooked up with Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire. White’s production talent and songwriting help propelled the Emotions to R&B success at first, then with “Best of My Love”, they became a household name. For a few years they were R&B radio royalty, capping with their performance on “Boogie Wonderland”, a song co-credited with EWF.

This set collects the best from those four years, and while pop success was fleeting, they were definitely a solid R&B act.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Wanda, Sheila and Jeanette were songwriters as well, composing many songs on their albums.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B+:  I was surprised that this was definitely an R&B album, and not really disco. That’s a good thing.