Bob Seger: Ultimate Hits

Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets is a new 26-track, 2-disc collection of pretty much all of Bob Seger’s best songs, many of which were popular singles. I always forget how much I like Seger’s music until I actually here it.

The only song missing here is “Fire Inside,” otherwise all my personal favorites are included: “Night Moves,” “You’ll Accomp’ny Me,” “Mainstreet” and “Turn the Page.”

There are also plenty of other fan favorites, such as “Old Time Rock and Roll,” “Hollywood Nights,” “Still the Same,” “We’ve Got Tonight,” “Like a Rock” and “Against the Wind” just to name a few.

The finale of the collection is an unexpected and welcome cover of Tom Waits’ “Downtown Train.”

If you like Bob Seger and/or classic rock, you’ll love this set.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples and watch videos at the links below…

Buy @ Amazon

Bob Seger Official Site

Frank Sinatra: Best of the Best

Muruch‘s resident Sinatra expert, Brendan, shares his take below on the new Best of the Best collection featuring Sinatra recordings from both Reprise and Capitol Records.

Frank Sinatra founded Reprise Records in 1960. He would have some very good years ahead, but his best years were behind him.

A search for “Best of Sinatra” results in a preponderance of collections from the Reprise years, during which time Sinatra rerecorded many of the songs which had made him a star. These songs sound vastly superior in their original versions, released on the Capitol label in the 1950’s, which is why Best of the Best is a welcome addition to the pile of Sinatra retrospectives released in recent years.

For the first time, sparkling Sinatra cuts from the 50’s appear on a disc with some very good Reprise originals, including “Strangers In The Night,” “Summer Wind,” and “Theme From New York, New York.”

Prior to this, I would have recommended Classic Sinatra as the best Sinatra collection, but it was missing those later recordings. Anyone new to Sinatra’s music is truly getting the best of both worlds with this disc.

The deal is sweetened in the Deluxe Edition, which includes a bonus disc of Sinatra in concert at the peak of his powers in 1957. On this occasion, Sinatra’s bandleader is Nelson Riddle, the man responsible for many of those swinging 50’s arrangements. Sinatra ’57 has been out of print for years, so this is an amazing deal for under $20.

Buy CD @ Amazon

Buy Deluxe Edition 2-Disc Set @ Amazon

Billy Joel: Piano Man

Columbia/Legacy Recordings are commemorating forty years of Billy Joel’s solo recording career with a new, limited edition Billy Joel: The Complete Albums Collection boxed set and a two-disc Legacy Edition of Joel’s 1973 debut album, Piano Man. I was particularly interested in Piano Man since I’d never heard the full album before. My review follows…

My generation knows Billy Joel best for his catchy pop piano singles in the 1980s and 90s, so the folk sound woven into many of Piano Man‘s tracks was a pleasant surprise.

The swaying harmonica and delicate piano melody of the album’s popular title track was no anomaly, the album fairly brims with old-fashioned twang.

Plucky banjo and fiddle drive the opener, “Travelin’ Prayer.” “You’re My Home” is a sentimental country-folk ballad, and the clomp of horse’s hooves opens the cowboy anthem, “The Ballad of Billy the Kid.”

There’s also some nice bluesy piano in “Ain’t No Crime.”

The overall production of the original album has that tinny ’70s sound, but that’s part of the classic album appeal for me.

Unfortunately, the second half of the album has a much more predictable blend of bland ballads and tepid power pop.

The Legacy edition includes a second disc of a live radio concert at Philadelphia’s Sigma Sound Studio on April 15, 1972. Included in the set were tracks from Piano Man and other Joel hits like “She’s Got a Way.” I personally found it excruciatingly boring, but I’m not into rare live recordings unless we’re talking Concrete Blonde or The Doors. So this special two-disc edition is more for the Billy Joel fanatic than the rest of us.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at the links below…

BUY @ AMAZON

Billy Joel Official Site

Muruch’s Classic Albums Appreciation Club: Week 30

Oops, I think I missed last week. Oh well. Our previous selection, the Footloose Soundtrack, remains one of my favorite albums of all time. Yes, it is pure 1980s pop – mostly of the over-the-top, cheesy variety. But it is the best of that genre with non-stop, back-to-back catchy pop hits. Kenny Loggin’s title track in particular is one of the most irresistibly infectious, gotta-dance pop songs ever recorded. Other highlights are Moving Pictures’ “Never” (the song to which Kevin Bacon does his infamous barn dance routine), Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero,” Sammy Hagar’s “The Girl Gets Around” and the Mike Reno and Ann Wilson power ballad duet “Almost Paradise.”

This week’s classic album is…Kristin Hersh: Strange Angels.

To recap the procedure here: At the beginning of each week, I’ll post brief thoughts on the previous week’s listening experience along with the coming week’s classic album selection. Then sometime in the week that follows, we’ll all take the time to listen to the album from beginning to end with no distractions. It can be as simple as just getting away from the computer to listen alone or you can make an event of it with candles, beverages and friends. Whatever format you play the album in or the manner in which you listen, just give the music your full and undivided attention.

Feel free to comment or email your opinions of our selections and recommendations for classic albums (from any decade, including this one).

Muruch’s Classic Albums Appreciation Club: Week 29

Granted, Van Halen’s 1984 has more nostalgic value than timeless artistic merit as the band’s heavy use of synths keeps the music firmly dated in the early 1980s. Yet despite all the electro-80s flourishes, 1984 is still a mostly solid rock album. And pop-rock hits “Jump,” “Panama” and “Hot for Teacher” are just as catchy and enjoyable now as when I first heard them. Now for one of my all-time favorite soundtracks…

This week’s classic album is…Footloose Soundtrack.

To recap the procedure here: At the beginning of each week, I’ll post brief thoughts on the previous week’s listening experience along with the coming week’s classic album selection. Then sometime in the week that follows, we’ll all take the time to listen to the album from beginning to end with no distractions. It can be as simple as just getting away from the computer to listen alone or you can make an event of it with candles, beverages and friends. Whatever format you play the album in or the manner in which you listen, just give the music your full and undivided attention.

Feel free to comment or email your opinions of our selections and recommendations for classic albums (from any decade, including this one).