Tag: Compilation

Neil Diamond – All-Time Greatest Hits

ARTIST: Neil Diamond            diamond

TITLE: All Time Greatest Hits

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: #15 US, #25 UK

SINGLES: Top 10: Cherry Cherry (#6 US), Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon (#10 US), Sweet Caroline (#4 US, #8 UK), Holly Holy (#6 US), Cracklin’ Rosie (#1 US, #3 UK), I Am..I Said (#4 US, #4 UK), Song Sung Blue (#1 US, #14 UK), Longellow Serenade (#5 US), Love on the Rocks (#2 US, #17 UK), Hello Again (#6 US, #51 UK), America (#8 US), Heartlight (#5 US, #47 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Almost every major hit by him is here

LINEUP: Neil Diamond, session musicians

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Almost (ALMOST!) the ultimate collection for every casual Neil Diamond fan.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Singer, songwriter, very serious man Neil Diamond is seemingly timeless. Almost everyone has heard at least one song (especially those attending sporting events), and he’s an artist whose work spans generations. Grandmothers who swooned to him in 1972 are bringing their granddaughters to his concerts now.

This is a collection of all of his big hits until 1983, well, all but one. “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” is represented, but as a solo song, not his hit duet with Barbra Streisand. The collection is also weirdly sequenced – like they went to a random number generator or something to put the tracks together.

Though he released a lot of albums in the 70’s (with a lot of pretentious album titles), this distills Diamond into one nice-sized chunk for almost everyone who has an inkling that they may like Diamond.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: He didn’t have a #1 album until 2008’s Home Before Dark. 

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B+-:  The sequencing would be better chronologically. And it missed the Streisand duet.

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Scratch Acid – The Greatest Gift

ARTIST: Scratch Acid        ScratchAcidGreatestGift

TITLE: The Greatest Gift

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh, Lord no

LINEUP: David Yow, David Wm. Sims, Rey Washam, Brett Bradford

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Austin weirdos record some raucous albums, and pave the way for the Jesus Lizard. 220px-ScratchAcidEP

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: You know, all you need to know about Scratch Acid is that this is where David Yow began his career as a deranged ‘vocalist’. This collection has everything the band released, and one other track that was a demo.

The band (featuring future Rapeman members Rey Washam and David Wm. Sims – Sims later joined Yow in Jesus Lizard) plays pretty straight forward loud alternative-ish, punk-ish rock, and Yow just does his thing over it. He’s probably even more unhinged here at times (“She Said”, “Lay Screaming”, “Mary Had a Little Drug Problem”). 220px-Scratchacidjustkeepeating

Since this is everything they did – containing the EPs Scratch Acid and Berzerker along with the LP Just Keep Eating), after a while it gets monotonous, but in short spurts, this is a good document of the origins of some find weird rock-and-roll.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band reunited in 2011 for Touch & Go Records anniversary.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No Scratchacidberserker

 

GRADE: B: In short spurts, it’s worthy. It probably may be best to listen to each of the original records as segments.

The Pointer Sisters – Yes We Can Can

ARTIST: The Pointer Sisters                          yeswecancan

TITLE: Yes We Can Can

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Top 40: Yes We Can Can (#11, #12 R&B), Wang Dang Doodle (#61, #24 R&B), Fairytale (#13, #37 Country), How Long (Betcha’ Got a Chick on the Side) (#20, #1 R&B), Going Down Slowly (#61, #16 R&B), You Gotta Believe (#103, #14 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nah

LINEUP: Anita Pointer, Ruth Pointer, Bonnie Pointer, June Pointer with Gaylord Birch, Tom Salisbury, Ron McClure, John Neumann, Chris Michie, and other session men taking their spots.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Compilation of their Blue Thumb era as a quarter, where they mixed funk and forties harmonies.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Pointer Sisters first incarnation was a mix of funk, soul, and the forties. They produced four studio and one live record in this era, and the highlights are here.

There’s some hot blues and funk backing the sisters, who really match well in their 40s-style four-part harmony.  Some of the tracks hearken back to the 40’s with arrangements and production, and those maybe aren’t as successful as the others – it seemed they were trying to fit into the genre and that constricted them a bit.

This era of the Pointer Sisters also showcased their songwriters, as they usually wrote about half the songs on their records, including the big hit “How Long” and the country song “Fairytale”.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: June Pointer was on one track only in their final album, and after that album she came back but sister Bonnie left for a solo career, and the Pointer Sisters became a trio for the rest of their heyday.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: B+: Some of their 40’s tribute songs don’t quite work. Points for using the long versions of the songs so you can appreciate the funk.

The Isley Brothers – The Essential Isley Brothers

ARTIST: The Isley Brothers             essential isley

TITLE: The Essential Isley Brothers

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Top 10: Twist and Shout (#17 US, #2 R&B, #42 UK), This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You) (#12 US, #6 R&B, #3 UK), It’s Your Thing (#2 US, #1 R&B, #30 UK), I Turned You On (#23 US, #6 R&B), Love the One You’re With (#18 US, #3 R&B), Lay Away (#54 US, #6 R&B), Pop That Thang (#24 US, #3 R&B), That Lady (#6 US, #2 R&B, #14 UK), What It Comes Down To (#55 US, #5 R&B), Summer Breeze (#60 US, #10 R&B, #16 UK), Harvest for the World (#63 US, #9 R&B, #10 UK), The Pride (#63 US, #1 R&B, #52 UK), Livin’ the Life (#40 US, #4 R&B), Take Me to the Next Phase (#1 R&B, #50 UK), I Wanna Be with You (#1 R&B), Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time to Love) (#39 US, #1 R&B), Between the Sheets (#101 US, #3 R&B, #52 UK), Down Low (Nobody Has to Know) (#4 US, #1 R&B, #23 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Shout (#47 US),

LINEUP: Ronald Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Rudolph Isley. The 1975-1985 group had Ernie Isley, Chris Jasper, and Marvin Isley

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Comprehensive look at the essential hits for the venerable brother vocal / funk group.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Even though “Shout” and “Twist and Shout” are well-known, those records didn’t really break the group for good. Not even Motown could, but when the vocal group added the younger brothers and in-laws to the mix, and got really funky, that’s when they had staying power.

For many years in the 70’s, they covered rock songs and made them funky and soulful, garnering hits with songs by Steven Stills, Seals & Crofts, and Eric Burdon. They lived on the R&B chart for most of the 70’s, mining a funk / disco groove with extended mixes.

They also had success with ballads, hearkening back to their Motown days, which makes for a quite diverse collection. All in all, this is a collection for those interested in the evolution of soul to funk to modern R&B.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They recorded a few tracks with a very young Jimi Hendrix, and this collection isn’t streaming the one track that was a single from those sessions, but really, it’s not that great.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: A-: I’d say this would be a definite one for the collection, but it’s kind of bloated and the sequencing’s kind of odd.

 

Accept – Playlist: The Very Best of Accept

ARTIST: Accept                      accept

TITLE: Playlist: The Very Best of Accept

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Restless and Wild, Balls to the Wall, Fast as a Shark, Midnight Mover, TV War

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Neon Nights, Metal Heart

LINEUP: Udo Dirkschneider, Wolf Hoffman, Peter Baltes, Jorg Fisher, Stefan Kaufmann. Herman Frank was in for Fischer at times during this era.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: More seminal than popular, this German metal band was a bridge from the UK metal scene to the speed / thrash metal era.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “Fast as a Shark” has a frenetic pace and a intense double kick drum, and is definitely the bridge between the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to the speed / thrash metal that would define the ‘real’ (sorry Poison) metal of the mid-to-late 80’s. For that, Accept should be remembered.

It’s not like they didn’t have any other tracks worth mentioning. “Balls to the Wall” is a hell of an anthem (except it’s about a minute too long), “Restless and Wild” is a track that almost out Priests Judas Priest.

Vocalist Udo Dirkschneider was the face of the band. His gruff vocals, with a surprising high range, is the highlight amongst a lot of generally generic metal. Wolf Hoffman can spin a good riff or three, but without Udo they’d be just another metal band.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Stefan Kaufmann left in 1982, but after an album with Herman Frank, they asked Kaufmann back.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 

GRADE: B: Solid metal for the most part.

Shalamar – The 12″ Collection

ARTIST: Shalamar                         shalamar

TITLE: The 12 Inch Collection

YEAR RELEASED: 1995

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Top 10: Uptown Festival (#25 US, #10 R&B, #2 Dance, #30 UK), Take That to the Bank (#79 US, #11 R&B, #20 UK), The Second Time Around (#8 US, #1 R&B, #1 Dance, #45 UK), Right in the Socket (#22 R&B, #11 Dance, #44 UK), Make That Move (#60 US, #6 R&B, #30 UK), This Is for the Lover in You (#17 R&B), A Night To Remember (#44 US, #8 R&B, #15 Dance, #5 UK), I can Make You Feel Good (#102 US, #33 R&B, #7 UK), Dead Giveaway (#22 US, #10 R&B, #18 Dance, #8 UK), Dancing in the Sheets (#17 US, #18 R&B, #9 Dance, #41 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Deep disco fiends may know the rest

LINEUP: Jeffrey Daniel, Jody Watley, Howard Hewitt. Hewitt replaced Gerald Brown. Their last hit featured Micki Free and Delisa Davis instead of Watley and Hewitt. Gary Mumford was the original, original lead singer. Session players under the direction of Leon Sylvers played the tunes.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Disco, soul, funk vocal trio filled the dance floors for about six or seven years, and released some classics of the time.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Starting out as a Don Cornelius studio only joint, when Shalamar became popular, Cornelius and Agent Dick Griffey found a trio to go out and sing and record. Producer Leon Sylvers worked the magic, and the trio of Jeffrey Daniel, Jody Watley and Howard Hewitt became stars in their own right after the third record.

Mind you, the trio was hired more for their dance moves than anything, but they had vocal talent as well. Sylvers, along with others, were the main songwriters, but Shalamar was an efficient vehicle for his works.

This is a collection of their 12” singles, which sound great and give you a chance to enjoy Sylvers’ production more than anything. You’ll boogie on with this.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: After their big hit “Dead Giveaway”, most everyone jumped ship due to issues with management and their record company. “Dancing in the Sheets” was their last hit and without Sylvers the magic was gone.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No 

GRADE: A-: A good look at the disco / funk / R&B trend of the late 70’s and early 80’s..

The Guess Who – Anthology

ARTIST: The Guess Who               guesswho

TITLE: Anthology

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Top 20: These Eyes (#6 US), Laughing (#10 US), No Time (#5 US), American Woman (#1 US, #19 UK), Hand Me Down World (#17 US), Share the Land (#10 US), Rain Dance (#19 US), Clap for the Wolfman (#6 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Shakin’ All Over, Undun, No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature, Albert Flasher, Star Baby

LINEUP: Core group in the US hit era: Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, Jim Kale, Gary Peterson. Chad Allan was the original singer and leader. Greg Leskiw, Kurt Winter, Donnie McDougall, and Domenic Troiano all replaced Bachman (as a dual guitar set-up for the most part) after May 1970. Bill Wallace replaced Kale on bass in 1973.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Canadian group goes from Beat Group to Psychedelic Pop Rockers to Hippie Huggers to Pop Rockers in the span of a decade before the hits dried up and nostalgia was all they had.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: They could have been one-hit wonders in the US (“Shakin’ All Over hit #22 in 1965). After three records, original singer and leader Chad Allan left due to voice issues, and Burton Cummings took over as lead singer. The band also emphasized Randy Bachman’s guitar work, and the combo of Cummings’ piano and voice and Bachman’s guitar gave the band a run of smashes in up until Bachman left in 1970. You know them, thanks to classic rock radio.

After Bachman left, Cummings and the band kept plugging away, adding guitarists and changing the bass player. Successful at first with some hippified songs, the band soon ground down, let to a novelty hit with Wolfman Jack as its last breath.

The 39 tracks here include several post-Bachman. While the Guess Who were really a singles band (their albums were spotty and some of the experimental things didn’t work at all), the drop off in quality is noticeable. Only a couple cuts on the back half are worth having for casual fans.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band name is trademarked by Jim Kale and Gary Peterson, the original bassist and drummer, as the band didn’t register the trademark in Canada. Kale and Peterson have three other dudes and still tour as the Guess Who.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B-: An A- minus for the good tunes, but a big downgrade for the bloat. Other collections omit some songs that are worthy, especially a few from the Chad Allan days.

Electric Eels – Die Electric Eels

ARTIST: Electric Eels                                        die electric eels

TITLE: Die Electric Eels

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Get real.

LINEUP: John Morton, Dave E McManus, Brian McMahon, Paul Marotta or Nick Knox

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Nihilistic art terrorism.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The ethos of the band is summed up by these words in “Agitated”: “You know what I think, I think the whole world stinks, and I don’t need no shrink, I just hate it”

Simple three or four chord music, loud drums, crummy recordings, sneery vocals, and lyrics that disguise their wit with all kinds of negativity. Of course, Cleveland in the mid-70’s was not a pretty city to be in, especially if you were an outsider making art.

The stories of the Electric Eels are out there – told in various histories of punk / new wave and the emerging Cleveland / Akron / Kent scene (which produced Devo, Pere Ubu, and the Dead Boys among others.

Just be warned – this is loud and ugly music – like 1975 Cleveland.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Nick Knox may have drummed on these demos, and he later drummed for the Cramps.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Well, there are several packages of these demos running around – some with other tracks. Basically at most there are 19 or 20 Electric Eels recordings.

GRADE: B-: It’s really hard to grade this. It’s a historical “A” and there are a couple three great, witty tracks. But the nihilism and the crappy recording makes it hard to slog through all of it.

Bo Diddley – The Chess Masters 1955-1958

RTIST: Bo Diddley                                                                     R-4114170-1355710021-1595.jpeg

TITLE: I’m a Man: The Chess Masters 1955-1958

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Bo Diddley (#1 R&B), Diddley Daddy (#11 R&B), Pretty Thing (#4 R&B, #34 UK), Diddy Wah Diddy, Who Do You Love, Cops and Robbers, Hey! Bo Diddley, Say! Boss Man, Hush Your Mouth, Willie and Lillie, I’m Sorry (#17 R&B), Crackin’ Up (#62 US, #14 R&B), Say Man (#20 US, #3 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I’m A Man, Before You Accuse Me

LINEUP: Bo Diddley, Jerome Green, Willie Dixon, Otis Spann, Lafayette Leake, Frank Kirkland, Clifton James, Little Walter, Billy Boy Arnold, Lester Davenport, Jody Williams, Little Willie Smith, the Moonglows, Peggy Jones, the Flamingos.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: BO DIDDLEY!

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While this collection has alternate versions (which are just as fine as the released versions) that may cause one to skip on occasion, this…this is Bo Diddley.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Chuck Berry, blah, blah. Bo Diddley’s the man. A great songwriter, performer, guitarist, comedian (no, really, he’s funny – you can’t have done “Say Man” without being a comedian) you name it. If nothing else, you know the rhythm – the African rhythm that’s ubiquitous in rock-and-roll to this day.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: His first few album covers had him playing a regular-shaped Gibson, not his cigar box guitar which was his trademark.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: A+: HEY! BO DIDDLEY!

Fatboy Slim – Greatest Hits – Why Try Harder

ARTIST: Fatboy Slim                                                         220px-Whytryharder

TITLE: Greatest Hits – Why Try Harder

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation

CHART ACTION: #6 US Dance, #2 UK

SINGLES: Top 30: Going Out of My Head (#28 Alternative, #57 UK), The Rockafeller Skank (#76 US, #39 Modern Rock, #21 Mainstream, #2 Dance, #6 UK), Gangster Trippin (#3 UK), Praise You (#36 US, #2 Alternative, #22 Mainstream, #1 UK), Right Here, Right Now (#2 UK), Sunset (#9 UK), Demons (#16 UK), Slash Dot Dash (#12 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not here – UK of course.

LINEUP: Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook) and his arsenal of samples and production tricks

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The casual fan’s best bet for a Fatboy Slim collection.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Full albums of Fatboy Slim could be a tiring ordeal for a non-devotee of electronica, thus this collection is probably the best way to grab what you want from him. WhyTryHarder-AmericanVersion

For the most part, this collection uses the single versions of the songs, which condense the tracks towards a radio length and not a dance-floor length, and while Cook is a skilled innovator, 60-70 minutes of electronics, samples, and production whiz-bangs can get boring especially if it seems the same ideas are being offered.

His choice of samples is great and obscure, as you really have to dig for the sources – that’s great. This highlights his strengths and allows the listener to focus, and shuffle, as they see fit.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: He was the bass player in the great Housemartins.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but there are re-mix collections around.

GRADE: A-: Fantastic, but small doses for me, please.