Friday, May 18, 2012

I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles...(The 'Oo)

I've reorganised my collection again and moved all the Greatest Hits compilations into their own section.

These compilations are often record company marketing decisions rather than artistic statements by musicians so I (mostly) feel justified in separating them.

There are always exceptions, though, where either the artist has an input or the collection just clicks or else the band is so great that every song is a must have. These are the ones I want to focus on. Here are some of my favourites.

The Who - Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy. When Pete Townshend reviewed the album for Rolling Stone magazine in 1971 he called it 'the greatest of Who albums'. As a celebration of 'Oo singles it is without peer. Hit after hit after hit after hit...

Favourite moment: My name is Bill and I'm a headcase (from I'm A Boy)

Neil Young - Decade. A bespoke collection from Mr Shakey himself. A perfect collection of his best moments, a lot of which were first released on this triple album!

Favourite moment: Winterlong.

The Raspberries - The Raspberries. Capitol put this out in 1991 under their Collectors Series banner and it scoops up all the hits by the best U.S. power pop band (Badfinger are, of course, the U.K.'s representative). Twenty tracks and every one delivers.

Favourite moment: Baby don't go!! Eric Carmen's heart felt cries (from If You Should Change Your Mind).

The Beach Boys - Ballads. The number of Beach Boys compilations must easily exceed the studio albums as repackaging of hits has continued throughout the years in a helter skelter fashion. Ballads contains twelve tracks and it goes without saying that all twelve are superb creations. The thematic idea of just including twelve ballads works brilliantly, much better that the Beatles' Ballads collection which had far too many tracks (20).

Favourite moment: Warmth Of The Sun captures the feeling of the warm rays in song. Everything great about the group is right there - the unique blend of voices, Brian's musical genius, Mike Love's succinct lyrics.

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Party Doll and Other Favorites. I've bought quite a few of her albums and so far none can compare to this compilation. It really shouldn't hold together as well as it does - there are live tracks, studio tracks including Jagger's weird title song and her brilliant version of Lennon's Grow Old With Me mixed in with the hits and album tracks.

Favourite moment: This shirt.

Ricky Nelson - 22 Golden Greats. This compilation is perfect - all the timeless hits from the whole of Ricky Nelson's career. Often because bands appear on different labels their career best collections fail to include all the good bits, frinstance I've not yet found a good Small Faces compilation. This one is a thorough and brilliant collection.

Favourite moment: Lonesome Town.

Lindisfarne - The Best of Lindisfarne. There are 16 reasons why Lindisfarne are an important band on this CD. Sixteen tracks is about perfect. I really much prefer a succinct CD like this to double CD bloated efforts.

Favourite moment: Lady Eleanor.

The Hollies - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. Like The Beach Boys, The Hollies have been compiled to death. I have a number of them and this is the best somehow. I think it's the sequencing of songs (it's definitely not a 'hits' collection). Again it shouldn't work - there is no chronology or even reason behind some of the selections and there are some notable omissions, instead, it's that unpredictability and depth that I like.

Favourite moment: The kitchen sink drama of Too Young To Be Married


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