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on 2 April 2009
By the mid Nineties a generation of thirty somethings were ready to explore their parents' record collections. But not the 'hip' stuff; no, we're talking the easy listening music that was so far 'out' it had started to be 'in'. And so the whole 'loungecore' concept came into being. Whether savoured 'ironically' as kitsch or a retro guilty pleasure, this once mundane muzak now seemed oddly exotic, a relic of a lost world of formica, tupperware and a life lived in man-made fibres.

So rummaging through mum and dad's grammophone player what do we find here? Well, there's the 'easy' legends of Aretha, Dionne, Nancy, Sandie and Mr Burt Bacharach, of course; and we have the more cultish pleasures of Esquivel, Sérgio Mendes and the ever dependable John Barry. This collection, spanning over 50 tracks from the Sixties and Seventies, covers cult film scores (Get Carter, Midnight Cowboy, The Thomas Crown Affair, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid) and ancient British 'light entertainment' and kids TV themes (Black Beauty, Animal Magic, Superstars, Crossroads, This Is Your Life), as well as a touch of exotica (Martin Denny), the odd polo-necked crooner and a sprinkling of pop standards.

And guess what? Listening to this music is gloriously liberating. You're freed from the restraints of current spurious notions of 'cool' and hackneyed macho rock posturing. Unshackled from the modern tyrrany of guitar and drums, the sonic palette here embraces real orchestras, featuring for your listening pleasure the exotic strains of marimbas, swirling strings, trumpet and saxophone.

This is the soundtrack to a simpler, gentler era when music combos were headed by gentlemen called Ray, Ron, Geoff, Bert, Hugh, Harry and Percy. Then the listener aspired to the Riviera, not 'da hood', in a time before baseball caps and sneakers had swept away the crushed velvet trouser suit and crimplene flare. Yes, it's all very Austin Powers at home in his bachelor pad; that's part of the appeal. So unbutton that safari suit, loosen your cravat and pour yourself a Martini. This is "groovy, baby!"
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on 22 March 2004
This is one of those collections that EMI/Virgin does extremely well - an easy listening mixture of cool 60s pop, cheesey TV themes and advertising jingles, and some classic instrumentals from films.
To use a phrase borrowed from the "Radio Times" this is a "revised repeat" of a Virgin-EMI compilation of the same name issued in 1999 (and still, just, available). Some twenty of the tracks on this new issue are on the old one, so check the depths of your collection before shelling out your dosh. They're both excellent compilations, on their own, but the repetition drags down the rating here.
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on 16 February 2010
The selection of easy listening ranging from tv and movie theme songs to pop classics is excellent. Quite a few Burt Bacharach tunes, notably "Walk on By" by Dionne Warwick. Sandy Shaw's "Always Something There to Remind Me" is equally touching, "The Windmills of Your Mind" from "The Thomas Crown Affair" or "Raindrops Are Falling on My Head" from "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" are real gems from the silver screen. José Feliciano's version of "Light My Fire" is another classic of the genre, as are many more featured here. Make sure to get the double CD, there's a shorter compilation which is less than half the fun. Plus there is even a minuscule backgammon set for a cool game when you have guests over at the pad!
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on 25 October 2005
This reworked edition of the classic comp feels somewhat butchered, the first CD is missing the hey-they're-actually-quite-good tv themes (Crossroads and Black Beauty, both of which have been relegated to the inferior companion comp Best of Cult Fiction). Although the first CD still flows like fine wine, the second CD now comes stuffed full of Bacharach fat. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan but the first 5 tracks are devoted to the man. If you like Bacharach get a Bacharach compilation, it's as simple as that.
A classy if somwhat unfocused collection, I would strongely recommend that you get hold of the infinitely superior Sound Gallery.
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on 19 March 2004
Altho there's several new tracks and substitutions, this is the 1996 Virgin release of the same name, acclaimed at the time for being the "definitive" easy listening compilation. As such, it just goes to show how misleading the term "definitive" can be: despite the slew of new inclusions it still sounds fairly "classic". Depending on your previous exposure to this material you'll find it either quaintly cheery or unbearably cheesy (or maybe both).
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on 14 April 2013
LOVE these tunes so laid back Great to have on in the back-ground Very relaxing, You'll know every song when you hear it. If you like Andy Williams you'll Love This.. PLEASE buy this is my 3rd copy. Who knew cd's could wear out..
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on 11 May 2016
if you want a collection of tunes that's a little bit different then this album is for you. a good mix of tv and film themes and music that is so bad its great!!!!
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on 26 July 2014
This for me was a voyage of discovery, think lounge, think groovey, think Jason King and you are getting there.
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on 30 May 2013
2 CDs with a different feel. Both are cool (in the 60s sense), one lively, one to chill out to.
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on 5 December 2014
Excellent eill round. A super Amazon seller - thoroughly recommended
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