Top positive review
8 people found this helpful
on 4 October 2010
Beginning with the melancholy Monday, Monday, taking in the autumnal California Dreamin`, the tender regret of Got a Feelin`, the rollicking, no-holds-barred cover of the Beatles` I Call Your Name, the joyously abandoned Go Where You Wanna Go and Somebody Groovy, a version of Dancing in the Street that won`t have you longing for Martha & the Vandellas, the strangely restless I Saw Her Again, the surging crescendos of Dedicated to the One I Love, their famous name-droppin` history lesson Creeque Alley, a surprisingly mellow Twist and Shout, the often overlooked but wonderful Twelve-Thirty, and Mama Cass`s soaringly confident Dream a Little Dream of Me - though sadly no It`s Getting Better - as well as many others, this compilation is just about perfect.
Musically it is perfect. The Mamas & Papas were perhaps taken a little for granted as hippy-drippy popsters back in the 60s when these timeless gems were recorded, but hearing them now they sound as fresh as they ever did - fresher, in fact - and great songs like California Dreamin`, or the strangely windswept Monday, Monday, sound as if they could have been written yesterday, so little have they dated. Even at their hippiest, with all the `yeahs` they loved to throw into the mix, the level of sheer musicianship is an ear-opener. They were a terrific group, with four very different voices complementing each other. The vocal arrangements of the songs alone are staggering. To think we went so wild about CS&N, for example, when we had these guys.
My only cavil is that this is a 2-CD set which, though it packs in 32 songs, only has an average running time of about 45 mins per disc. The compilers surely could have rounded each CD up to at least an hour, if not more. This is a disappointment, as there are other compilations of the group that give better value - though at the price quoted above, you will certainly not be wasting your money.
Still, it`s fairly well-packaged, with excellent sleeve-notes, a few good pics...
it`s just a shame there isn`t even more of the sun-and-shadow music of this now-exultant, now-pensive group.
I can`t bear not to give this a full 5 stars, as the contents are so wondrous, though I mentally dock a star for record company stinginess.
A last thought. What sets the group apart from so many others of the era is the air of melancholy in several of their songs, to which I`ve already alluded. Listen to Monday, Monday and hear one of the most original, memorable and beautiful songs of the sixties; also one of the saddest, bleakest and most haunting of any age.
These are songs that will never perish (many written/co-written by their resident genius John Phillips) sung by one of the great groups of their time.