Classic Rock Bottom

Yes, I'm ripping TageRyche off.  I'll admit it.  I was going to post these in his thread, but then I just decided to make a separate thread.  But as the title says, I'm specifically posting brief thoughts about only greatest hits compilations with a maximum of two discs (I already have a separate thread regarding multi-disc box sets).  These don't get a lot of attention since we typically deal with proper studio albums, so why not.  For some reason, I've been in sort of a greatest hits mood lately.  I also invite anyone else who wants to post a greatest hits disc review to do so here, even if it's a repeat of one of mine.  And I'll do like TageRyche, I'll just keep adding the new posts to this thread.  TR, you can have your people contact my people so we can get this worked out without involving the attorneys.

Ultimate Survivor is a one disc compilation released in 2004.  It contains 18 songs that cover the period from 1979 to 1988, with one song (Rockin' Into The Night) being previously unreleased.  That last song is a cover of the .38 Special song, and is nowhere near as good as the hit version.  Of course, the hits are here.  The songs that I had not heard were good for the most part.  There were a couple of non-memorable ballads (Across The Miles and Man Against The World).  Weirdly, the last four songs had a singer whose voice I didn't recognize.  Maybe someone that reads this can tell me.  It certainly doesn't sound like Jimi Jamison.  The songs are pretty good, but I'm not impressed at all by the vocals.

Personally, I would have liked for the two ballads to be replaced by Broken Promises and Popular Girl from the Vital Signs album.  Anyway, Survivor was very melodic and this was a pleasurable listen for me.

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Entry #4: Up next is the first compilation ever released by Foreigner.  Records was released in 1982 and contained songs from the band's first four albums, the self-titled debut (1977), Double Vision (1978), Head Games (1979) and 4 (1981).  I remember having this from some time in the 80's, though I can't remember if I got the cassette or the CD.  I do have the CD now, which is what I listened to in order to refresh my memory for this short review.

There are only ten tracks on this single disc release, which means there is no shortage of hits represented.  However, that also means that more than likely a few pretty well known songs will be left off.  As far as the songs included, the only mistake in my opinion is the inclusion of the live version of Hot Blooded.  It makes no sense.  It was never the definitive version of the song.  My guess would normally be that there were licensing issues, but that makes no sense either since other songs from the same album are on the compilation.  

Other inclusions are Feels Like The First Time, Cold As Ice, Double Vision, Long, Long Way From Home, Dirty White Boy, Head Games, Waiting For A Girl Like You, Urgent and Juke Box Hero.  One very notable exclusion is Blue Morning, Blue Day, which was a number 15 Billboard Hot 100 hit.  Personally, other misses would include Starrider, The Damage Is Done, Fool For You Anyway, Love On The Telephone, Women, Rev On The Red Line, Break It Up and Girl On The Moon. 

I would imagine that, based on the year of release, the album was designed for an LP release or a cassette release, which would explain the low number of songs on the release.  So along those lines I would say that this is a cool release. One that a large number of older rock fans likely have in their collection. 

The funny thing about you pointing out that you mention that it is the first compilation for Foreigner. Funny because they've gone on to release so many compilations that they've kind of become a joke.

True, and I have one other that I will eventually get to.

Entry #5: This entry has a little in common with the last entry I posted (Foreigner's Records).  Like Records, 10 from 6 was Bad Company's first compilation album.  It was released back in 1985, and again like Records, the album contained ten songs.  Those ten songs were pulled from the band's first six albums (sort of), which is where the clever title came from.  I say sort of because no songs were pulled from the album Burnin' Sky.  

As usual, with only ten songs being included, you can bet there will be personal favorites left off.  But first, what is included?  That would be Can't Get Enough, Feel Like Makin' Love, Run With The Pack, Shooting Star, Movin' On, Bad Company, Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy, Electricland, Ready For Love and Live For The Music.  Of those, I'm a fan of all of them, but I would be okay with Electricland being replaced.  As for what I would replace it with, where to start?  For my money, I'd start with pretty much any song from Run With The Pack other than the two already included.  Specifically, I'd go with Love Me Somebody simply because it's my favorite Bad Company song.  But you really couldn't go wrong with Simple Man either.  Rock Steady, Seagull, Good Lovin' Gone Bad or Oh, Atlanta would have also been worthy inclusions.

Regardless, it's a very cool compilation.  At one time, again like Records, it was in high rotation for me.  It's certainly an excellent starting point for someone looking to check the band out.

I'm pretty sure that the cassette edition of this album was my first exposure to Bad Company.

Entry #6: Fleetwood Mac's 2002 2-CD compilation The Very Best of Fleetwood Mac is the next album up here.  This compilation concentrates on the pop version of Fleetwood Mac, beginning with 1975's self-titled album and moving forward.  As you can see from the photo, the CD is enhanced with video footage.  I have listened to the two discs, but I have not viewed any of the enhanced content.  

As far as the music represented here, let's face it, Fleetwood Mac has a lot of great songs.  With a track listing that is 36 songs long, you might think the quality could severely drop off here and there, and that wouldn't be a completely wrong thought.  Basically, disc one is very stout!  Really, there isn't a bad or unworthy track here.  The live versions of I'm So Afraid and Big Love are knockouts.  You also get a few single edits and such.  The first half of disc two is quite strong as well.  The live version of Go Insane is another standout.  The only slight drop off is the last five or six songs on disc two. They aren't at all bad songs, but I would never put them in the "best of" category for Fleetwood Mac.

And all of that brings me to the big draw of this album for me, the Stevie Nicks penned Silver Springs.  In case you didn't already know, the song was written and intended for inclusion on the 60 billion selling Rumours album.  But due to it's length and the time constraints of the LP format, the song was left off and it became a b-side to Go Your Own Way.  Nicks was quite unhappy about this and I can understand.  It is a fabulous song. 

This compilation is still available, and you can get it from Amazon for just over 13 dollars.  This is a very worthy greatest hits compilation and I highly recommend it.

Personal Rating: 9/10 Stars

Entry #7: The second entry for today is The Very Best of England Dan & John Ford Coley.  This was released in 1996 by Rhino.  England Dan & John Ford Coley were a soft rock duo that charted a few singles during the 70's.  Two of those I'm sure you have heard of, I'd Really Love To See You Tonight and Nights Are Forever Without You, both Top 10 hits.  You may also be familiar with We'll Never Have To Say Goodbye Again and Love Is The Answer, both Top 10 hits as well.  Finally, there is the song It's Sad To Belong, which was a moderate hit that you may have heard.  Those are the only five England Dan & John Ford Coley songs that I've ever heard prior to listening to this. 

So this is really the first compilation in this thread that has a lot of unknown material for me.  And after listening to the entire disc, I can safely say that anyone that is only familiar with the previously mentioned songs is not missing much. There are a couple of other interesting tracks, like the almost proggy Soldier In The Rain and the very well sung The Prisoner.  Who's Lonely Now is a terrific song that surprisingly was not released as a single.  I do believe they may have missed out on a hit there.  Some Things Don't Come Easy is also a very nice track.  But that's really it.  Roughly half of this best of compilation is forgettable (sixteen tracks total).  The duo definitely has a country lean, which isn't surprising seeing as how England Dan eventually went country as Dan Seals in the 80's and had some success there (Meet Me In Montana with Marie Osmond, They Rage On and Addicted are terrific country songs).  

At almost the same price as the 2 disc Fleetwood Mac set listed above, I can't say that I recommend this one.

Personal Rating: 5/10 Stars

Entry #8

I picked this Bachman-Turner Overdrive compilation up a little while back at the used CD store.  I don't remember how much it was but it was pretty cheap.  It's currently available on Amazon for just under eleven bucks.  I can't give you a lot of details because I can't find much on it and the case is somewhere put away.  The title says "remastered hits", so I'm guessing that much is true.

The disc has twelve tracks on it and it pretty much covers the band's biggest songs.  The songs Hey You, Let It Ride, Taking Care of Business and Blue Collar are all present and are probably four of the very best BTO songs.  My opinion of course.  The latter, Blue Collar, is just a killer song.  

But several of the tracks are just okay, like Four Wheel Drive, Down To The Line and Take It Like A Man.  Overall, this comp is just okay.  Strange thing is, I just realized tonight that I actually have three BTO greatest hits discs.  Along with this one on vinyl and CD, I have one of those 20th Century compilations and I have the Gold 2-disc set.  After spinning through this one, I think it's safe to say this one is average at best.

Personal Rating - 5/10 Stars

Sadly, whenever I think of B.T.O. this is the only thing that comes to mind:

Entry #9

For a long time I didn't have any Foghat in my collection.  Growing up I remember that my sister had a live Foghat album and I'm pretty sure she had a couple of singles, but that's it.  So a while back I picked up this compilation. Since then I have picked up a small box set, one of those classic albums sets that has 5 albums in it.  I can't say I've ever been much of a fan, but I do remember and like four songs by the band.

Luckily, all of those are on this disc (Slow Ride, I Just Wanna Make Love To You, Fool For The City and Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was A Fool).  But what about the rest of the disc?  Well, there are 12 tracks in all, and at least one other than these four was familiar to me.  That would be Drivin' Wheel.  The really strange thing about this comp is that it contains both the studio and live versions of I Just Wanna Make Love To You.  Not really sure why they did that, but that leaves six tracks that were essentially new to me.  And while I wouldn't say those were difficult to listen to, they also didn't convince me to go out and spend more money on Foghat.  One other note, there are two notable covers, Maybelline (written by Chuck Berry) and Take Me To The River (written by Al Green).  Neither of those could supplant the originals or even other more notable cover versions (like the Talking Heads version of the latter).

I guess you could call this a decent starting spot for someone wanting to look into the catalog of Foghat, but due to the price (about 30 bucks on Amazon) one would be better served picking up the Foghat Anthology (around 16 dollars with more songs than this album) or the aforementioned Original Album Series (around 18 dollars for 5 albums) on Amazon.

Personal Rating: 5/10 Stars

Entry #10

Jimmy Buffett's first compilation album was released this month in 1985.  It was a huge selling album, as the RIAA's 7 X Platinum certification will attest.  The first thing I'll mention is the hideous album cover.  That much yellow is just annoying.  The second thing I'll mention is that my copy of this CD is in pretty bad looking shape, but it still plays perfectly fine. 

There are 13 songs on the album and it pretty much covers everything by Mr. Buffett that I'm familiar with.  You have Cheeseburger In Paradise, He Went To Paris (a really cool little song when you really listen to the lyrics), Fins, Son of A Son of A Sailor, Margaritaville (my second favorite Buffett song), Come Monday (my favorite Buffett song), Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes, Why Don't We Get Drunk (a college favorite) and Volcano.  There are a handful of songs that wouldn't be tunes I'd reach for if I were making a playlist, but none of them are bad tracks.

I listened to this album a lot when I was in college and I would certainly recommend it as a jumping off spot for someone looking for a Jimmy Buffett compilation.  The price also cannot be argued with as you can pick it up on Amazon for just under 8 dollars.  This one fits the bill well.

Personal Rating - 8/10 Stars


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