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4.6 out of 5 stars27
4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 7 December 2012
Of all the groups (we didn`t have bands then) from the sixties, there are two that stand out for me, whose music not only seems to exemplify that confused decade but transcend it, sounding even better now than they did at the time. One is The Mamas & The Papas, the other is this foursome. For a while, the Lovin` Spoonful were almost as big as the Beatles in the States, and with good reason. John Sebastian, surely one of the most talented and versatile musicians of the last fifty years, wrote or co-wrote an astonishing number of perfect pop songs (including on his later solo albums, well worth seeking out) usually with a dreamy, delirious feel to them, or else with a healthy dose of the jugband sound to which he`s always been devoted.
Over the years there have been several Spoonful compilations carelessly thrown together, that you should avoid at all costs. Either the sound is shoddy or the vocals are lost in the muddied mix, or they`ve used `alternate` versions which bear little relation to the official releases. No such worries with this generously assembled 67-minute, 26-track feast of Spoonful magic. It`s the best and most comprehensive collection of this wonderful group`s songs I`ve come across. Nearly everything you could wish for is here - despite one or two ommissions such as the engagingly languid Boredom. More songs might have been included given that at least another ten minutes were available to the compilers, but few such compilations are perfect, though this one comes close.
What you do get is such a stream of glorious, intelligent, melodic songs that you won`t want it to come to an end, numbers such as the sweetly gentle You Didn`t Have To Be So Nice, the wonderful Wild About My Lovin`, the coyly tender Younger Girl (covered as a single by The Critters), lyrically exhilarating Jug Band Music, uncharacteristically Motown-ish Summer In The City, the appropriately countrified Nashville Cats, Lovin` You, the deliciously slow and sensuous Coconut Grove, the blissful Darling Be Home Soon, bouncy Darlin` Companion (a onetime Johnny & June Cash staple), the ebullient She`s Still A Mystery, the wrily pensive Younger Generation, the timeless Daydream...and, oh joy, two immaculate lesser-known songs: the wondrous song Full Measure, and equally impressive Never Going Back, a lovely song by John Stewart, also covered well by Peter, Paul & Mary.
The opening track is a kind of Spoonful signature song, the irrepressible, timeless Do You Believe In Magic?
When I hear these songs, I think I do.
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The Lovin' Spoonful were formed (as were the Mamas and Papas) following the break-up of a folk-rock group in the sixties called the Mugwumps that only lasted a few months.
In Britain, they are mainly remembered for Summer in the city (a top ten UK hit and an American chart-topper) and Daydream (a number two hit in both Britain and America), though they also had some minor UK hits. They were far more successful in America, where they had many more big hits, beginning with their first single, Do you believe in magic, an American top ten.
One of their songs, Nashville cats, takes an affectionate look at country music's musicians. The group never ventured into country music themselves, though Dolly Parton did a fine cover of Lovin' you on her Here you come again album and John Sebastian (lead singer of the Lovin' Spoonful) was a guest on the same singer's Treasures album in the nineties.
The original version of Lovin' you is included in this compilation. Some other great songs to be found here include You don't have to be so nice, Did you ever have to make up your mind, Younger girl and Darling be home soon.
Yet perhaps the most interesting song is Younger generation, which takes an amusing look at the problems of growing up and how attitudes change as one gets older.
The good-time music of the Lovin' Spoonful sounds as good today as it ever did. There are many compilations around though there is very little difference between the track listings of most of them. If you enjoy good-time sixties music, this is for you.
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on 16 January 2011
I have only good thoughts about this collection. Full of top quality songs arranged with imagination and recorded to give a sixties time-capsule of delight. Even the less well known songs quickly become embedded in your brain. I know some people dismiss this type of music as lightweight but it is in fact monumental. Creative melodic songwriting of this scale is so hard to achieve and this selection serves as a fitting testimony to the "genius" of John Sebastian.
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on 7 July 2009
I had most of the tunes on a couple of old vinyl collections which I have not listened to for years (in the absence of a record player). Hearing those fresh joyous sounds again was a warm and wonderful experience especially as they sound so alive and uncluttered. The John/Zal combination was breathtaking but would never have got public attention without the powerful rhythm section. The tracks sound different to my memory of vinyl, not better or worse, just different and I know that is only partly down to hearing loss. The LS never made a bad B side and used the B sides to show their rootsy credentials- my only sorrow is there is no sign of Boredom (a brilliant JS song which doesn't date)or Bald-Headed Lena. Buy (you owe it to your children)
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VINE VOICEon 13 June 2005
The Lovin' Spoonful had a brief but glorious career in the second half of the sixties, as part of America's answer to the Beatles. In those respects they were much like the Turtles and, like them, their reputation has since faded somewhat. Induction into the Rock 'N' Roll Hall of Fame has done much to rectify that.
John Sebastian was the heart of the group. As songwriter, he is often reminiscent of Ray Davies on a bad day; uninspiring lyrics and simplistic tunes, and the group's musicianship and singing were adequate but not great. Yet they produced two authentic classics -- Daydream and Summer in the City -- and a slew of other, worthwhile songs. When they stayed closer to traditional roots, as in Jug Band Music, they were great. But mostly, they chose to be more commercial than the Monkees.
This CD is great value. Because they had such a short career, it has been possible to include all their hits, plus more, on this 26-track album. The sound quality is superb and the sleeve notes good. So if you want just one Spoonful, take this one.
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on 23 September 2013
Excellent compliation of the best of the Spoonfull's outputreflecting the sunny, upbeat nature of their music and their lyrics. Pity they didn't stay together longer.
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on 13 January 2016
The fidelity is a bit lacklustre but the tracks are good but not as good as when they first came out when I was listening to them at much younger age !
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on 18 August 2014
certainly takes me back to the good old sixties exttemely glad I bought this and still buying from an excellent supplier
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on 5 June 2013
Have not heard Loving Spoonful for years so was great to hear the old songs again, brought back some happy memories
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on 9 June 2014
lovin'spoonful a great cd worth buying all their best songs on this album a must for all fans of their music
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