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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best yet
Teaming Cat Power with the Hi team who recorded behind Ann Peebles and Al Green was an unexpected and brilliant idea. A special alchemy took place at Ardent Studios in Memphis which enhanced both Cat Power's gorgeous smoky voice and the soulful groove the band has laid down. I would say that that it was worth the price of the album just for the majestic opening song, The...
Published on 15 Jun. 2007 by Lozarithm

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars KISS
I think this is my least favorite cat power album (excluding dear sir which I don't own). Cat powers charm (I think) is in the simplicity of the songs, this album has too much stuff going on, too many instruments making it sound average.

There are some songs; however which don't apply to this, 'Hate' is amazing,

'The moon'.

Overall though,...
Published on 3 Dec. 2006 by Mr. T. Butler


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best yet, 15 Jun. 2007
By 
Lozarithm (Wilts, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Greatest [Reissue] (Audio CD)
Teaming Cat Power with the Hi team who recorded behind Ann Peebles and Al Green was an unexpected and brilliant idea. A special alchemy took place at Ardent Studios in Memphis which enhanced both Cat Power's gorgeous smoky voice and the soulful groove the band has laid down. I would say that that it was worth the price of the album just for the majestic opening song, The Greatest, were it not that it is also available as a single, but that would be to unfairly demean the rest of the record. Of course Cat Power does not need embellishment, as is demonstrated on the unadorned song Hate. Cat's most accomplished album to date.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From a fan of Cat Power's entire career - particularly the lo-fi, 6 Feb. 2007
By 
Scott Wright (Aberdeen, Scotland) - See all my reviews
As a huge fan of Chan's earlier, harsher lo-fi albums and a big fan of everything else she's produced, i was pretty shocked and... disappointed i guess... with "The Greatest", initially rejecting it ("This isn't Cat Power" i had said to a friend at the time) despite listening to it over and over.

I've now had 12months to get my head around it though and ye know what? It turns out it's pretty damn good.

At first i took it very much as "Cat Power goes to Memphis" (i've no idea how many times i've seen that written now but it's a fair description), unsure of an entire band backing little Miss Marshall, but having taken time to separate the album from her others i've come to really appreciate it.

Stand-out tracks for me are "The Greatest" (undeniably beautiful), "Living Proof" and the persistent "Love and Communication" (including a discordant guitar near the beginning harking back to those early days... - this is my favourite track on the album).

Great joy also comes from fully band-backed recordings of "The Moon", "Willie" and "Islands" after hearing early Chan-and-a-guitar versions on the "Speaking for Trees" DVD/CD.

The extra track on this edition is nice, but i'm generally not a fan of bonus tracks of any sort. An album is an album. If a track isn't on the original playlist then there's a reason for that and it shouldn't be shoved in. But hey.

It's taken a year for me to fully accept this album and i still don't like to give it 4 stars, just for the reason that i feel i'm betraying my love for her earlier work, but "The Greatest" really does deserve it.

Soulful, beautiful, at times fun, at times pretty dark.

(a solo album next time would be great though)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest...she may just be right., 27 Mar. 2006
By 
IWFIcon - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
It takes a certain amount of nerve to call an album "The Greatest" but in terms of Chan Marshall's fantastic catalogue, she's just about got it right with the title.
Single "The Greatest" is every bit as good as you would expect but it's by no means the only highlight on this brilliant album. "Could We" sparkles and shimmies, whilst "Willie" starts off sounding like a Ben Folds song but transforms itself into something else entirely over the course of a listen. "Hate" is earthy and raw and whilst somewhat out of place in some senses on this album, does hark back to some of her previous work.
My personal pick of the bunch is "Love And Communication." Right at the end of the album (ignoring the bonus 'unadvertised' track) I was already enthralled by the album, but this track quickly was stuck on repeat play with its blaze of guitars and strings.
You don't look to a Cat Power album for a cheery, laugh a minute, session and whist on the surface the tunes, such as "After It All" may make this seem like some kind of departure, but before you get too carried away lyrics such as "I hate myself and I want to die" remind you just who you are listening to.
It's perhaps not the leap that Marshall may have made, but this is still a fantastic collection of songs, which certainly does live up their with her greatest work and certainly defies any easy catergorisation. It's a liitle bit country, it's a little bit soul, but it's a whole lot Cat Power. She's pulled it off again.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives up to its title, 4 Feb. 2006
By 
Nick (London, England) - See all my reviews
I've known her name without hearing Cat Power's music before but the title track single just hit me every time I heard it on the radio and I'm really glad I bought the album on the strength of it . What a great album, deeply atmospheric and intense but - as you might suspect with Al Green's backing band on board- hugely pleasurable on the ear, with a real emotional power. I suspect this album will be keeping me late night company for a long time yet.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chan in Memphis..., 26 April 2006
By 
Jason Parkes (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Greatest (Audio CD)
appears to be the subtext of every review of 'The Greatest'- recorded with musicians from Al Green's band, these soulful elements have got critics, fans and on-line types citing 'Dusty in Memphis' - sure you can see where they're coming from, but there are differences - Marshall writes, plays, arranges and sings - and there's the suggestion that this is the Cat Power Sells Out LP. When you can really here the same artist found on 'Moon Pix', 'The Covers Record' and 'You Are Free'- just more developed down the line...

The album blends the highlighted soul elements with the prior piano-lead joy of Cat Power, offering something between 'Dusty in Memphis' and Patti Smith. The sophoric/transcendental qualities Power offers recall Mazzy Star/Hope Sandoval too - it's been a good year or so for talented females incidentally: Neko Case, Fiona Apple, Vashti Bunyan, Joanna Newsom, Candi Staton, Marissa Nadler, Kate Bush, Bjork, Laura Cantrell, Isobel Campbell...which is not to same that being female they are all the same - but to point out that many great records are being made by females.It should be easy for people to get lost in the shuffle...

'The Greatest' is (predictably) the Greatest- not really a dud here and I kind of feel cheated that I waited a few weeks before getting it - we've lost hours together. 'The Moon' and 'Islands' are moments of poetic joy - you can see why someone mentioned 'Astral Weeks' in an earlier review - while the conclusion of 'Hate' and 'Love & Communication' offers up something close to a concept sequence, Cobain cited on the former ("I said I hate myself and I want to die")- while the latter is more surreal with the use of 'Cuz' suggesting Chan's a Slade-fan!

This album seems to have opened Cat Power up a bit more - I was quite shocked to hear 'The Greatest' being played by Wogan on Radio 2 one morning (...perhaps I imagined that...) I'd say it features as many great songs as Marshall has recorded before - 'Lived In Bars' perfectly blending her soulful aspirations and her caustic confessional - the lyrics of 'Lived In Bars' belong more to a Paul Westerberg world than a Ryan Adams one. The best song here, and the track I'd justify buying the album for alone is 'Living Proof' - which is to be a single and has had a promo made by Harmony Korine ('Gummo','Julien Donkey-Boy'). This has a gorgeous soul groove nailed to Chan's piano, while an emotive organ recalling Al Kooper adds to Marshall's perfect phrasing (the fade out too soon as Chan begins to testify in vain is the kind of thing peak Dylan would have done...). The lyrics are brilliant and given pristeen delivery to fantastic musicianship and arrangement - I've listened to this song on repeat over and over and over again ('Like a Rolling Stone'? - PAH!!) It's one of those songs like Robert Wyatt's 'Sea Song', Dennis Wilson's 'Time', Neko Case's 'Tightly', My Bloody Valentine's 'Loomer' & Scott Walker's 'Farmer in the City' I can just get lost in...Just listen to those words sung that way with that voice: "It's not your face or the color of your hair/Or the sound of your voice my dear that's got me dragged in here/(change in phrasing)It's the ice in the seam, the scheme of you/(another shift)You're supposed to have the answer/You're supposed to have living proof...Yes I was jealous- cos you are sworn (you're sworn...)/How could you come undone to a word so strong?/(another change in emphasis)My beating heart the anchor to a ship so warm/(building on the previous conclusion)/You're supposed to have the answer/You're supposed to have living proof - Well I am your answer/I am living...Will you terrorize this with your perfect lips?/I watch you eat and feed this mess to the running wind [Dylanesque in its obliqueness!]/(the change...)But I know you from before and after until then/Do you have your answer?/Do you have living proof?/Well I am your answer - I am living...(...and the song builds to a testimonial climax)You're supposed to have an answer/You're supposed to have living proof/Well do you have your answer?/Well I am your answer/I am living..." A perfect song and number one for eternity in my happy utopia...

'The Greatest' is a fantastic album, adding to the brilliant career thus far - shame Marshall's cancelled the tour - can we have another album recorded in some woods please? One of the albums of 2006 and includes the singles 'The Greatest', 'Lived In Bars', and 'Could We', as well as the greatest song penned since 'Like a Rolling Stone', 'Living Proof.' I recommend the new version as (i) it's cheaper and (ii) it has a pic of foxy Chan on the front...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cat Power Goes Memphis with "The Greatest" (4.5 stars), 2 Mar. 2006
By 
Juan Mobili (Valley Cottage, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Cat Power's output will never be accused of being very emotive or lyrically overwrought, yet her latest album goes beyond the austere boundaries of prior releases. This is not to say that Marshall has gone over the edge in any way, yet in The Greatest her voice seems to reach for new tender corners and there's a certain compassion for her songs' characters in this album which- at least to me-have never been this apparent in the past.
This is the case with the title song and opener, a moving piece about a boxer, which already showcases some key musical choices that give The Greatest its particular feel. Whether it's the subtle guitar work, the way the strings and piano unfold its melody, or the drums-which I don't recall being present as often or featured as they are throughout these tracks-ease you into a different kind of Cat Power album.
A similar feel to the opener returns in "Living In Bars," "Where Is My Love" and "Willie," yet not all songs comply to this formula, by the way, songs like Living Proof," "Could We," "After It All" or "Islands" are-in their own ways and by Cat Power' standards-more accessible, more willing to reach out than past material.
Still, this is a Cat Power album, "The Moon"-one of my favorite songs-as well as "Empty Shell" or "Hate," each in its own way, proved this and may remind you of prior albums.
So, enjoy and be moved by a special singer and interesting songwriter who's still willing to explore the music outside her usual world, and had the shy observer she's always been, step out into new moods.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 6 Nov. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Greatest (Audio CD)
I'll be honest with you, I am completely out of my depth reviewing this. Yes, I'm aware that this isn't her first album, but it's the first one that's picked up on the radar in this country thanks to the title song 'The Greatest' and 'Could We', which both charmed me and really sold this artist's album to me. The sound on this, is a rich seductive tapestry of Blue Grass Country spliced with Atlantic Soul delivered in a sultry but lived in voice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest, 9 Sept. 2006
By 
L. Omelasz "brekkie_tiffs" (Dundee, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
One significant difference from the Cat Power (a'la Chan Marshall) of You are Free and the Cat of The Greatest is that she's a lot more laid-back. It's still definitely Cat Power, alas more content and accessible but although she sounds happy, there's still an underlying sense of sadness in the songs here. Opener, 'The Greatest', is utterly gorgeous, with string arrangements reminiscent of Moon River and, as the title implies, about a up-and-coming boxer; Lived in Bars is a bluesy masterpiece; Empty Shell is the most country-ish track here and my favourite; Willie, originally an 18minute epic, is slimmed down to 5 minutes but still works marvellously. Although the 18minute version is, obviously, more fulfilling.

Overall, The Greatest is less consistent than You are Free, and it doesn't have a true dazzler such as Good Woman. Although I think Chan was on stronger form with said album, The Greatest is still a winner.

Highlight: Empty Shell
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cat Power's 'Astral Weeks', 10 Feb. 2006
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Like Van's opus this has to be played from first to last. First play makes you want to hear it again and last sounds as good as first.It encompasses so much yet remains a mystery - almost in reach, but never quite. Fascinating songs, captivating vocals and arrangements that serve the songs so well. A fantastic record that will retain its special quality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the albums of 2006...Chan in Memphis..., 9 Sept. 2006
By 
Jason Parkes (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Greatest (Audio CD)
appears to be the subtext of every review of 'The Greatest'- recorded with musicians from Al Green's band, these soulful elements have got critics, fans and on-line types citing 'Dusty in Memphis' - sure you can see where they're coming from, but there are differences - Marshall writes, plays, arranges and sings - and there's the suggestion that this is the Cat Power Sells Out LP. When you can really here the same artist found on 'Moon Pix', 'The Covers Record' and 'You Are Free'- just more developed down the line...

The album blends the highlighted soul elements with the prior piano-lead joy of Cat Power, offering something between 'Dusty in Memphis' and Patti Smith. The sophoric/transcendental qualities Power offers recall Mazzy Star/Hope Sandoval too - it's been a good year or so for talented females incidentally: Neko Case, Fiona Apple, Vashti Bunyan, Joanna Newsom, Candi Staton, Marissa Nadler, Kate Bush, Bjork, Laura Cantrell, Isobel Campbell...which is not to same that being female they are all the same - but to point out that many great records are being made by females.It should be easy for people to get lost in the shuffle...

'The Greatest' is (predictably) the Greatest- not really a dud here and I kind of feel cheated that I waited a few weeks before getting it - we've lost hours together. 'The Moon' and 'Islands' are moments of poetic joy - you can see why someone mentioned 'Astral Weeks' in an earlier review - while the conclusion of 'Hate' and 'Love & Communication' offers up something close to a concept sequence, Cobain cited on the former ("I said I hate myself and I want to die")- while the latter is more surreal with the use of 'Cuz' suggesting Chan's a Slade-fan!

This album seems to have opened Cat Power up a bit more - I was quite shocked to hear 'The Greatest' being played by Wogan on Radio 2 one morning (...perhaps I imagined that...) I'd say it features as many great songs as Marshall has recorded before - 'Lived In Bars' perfectly blending her soulful aspirations and her caustic confessional - the lyrics of 'Lived In Bars' belong more to a Paul Westerberg world than a Ryan Adams one. The best song here, and the track I'd justify buying the album for alone is 'Living Proof' - which is to be a single and has had a promo made by Harmony Korine ('Gummo','Julien Donkey-Boy'). This has a gorgeous soul groove nailed to Chan's piano, while an emotive organ recalling Al Kooper adds to Marshall's perfect phrasing (the fade out too soon as Chan begins to testify in vain is the kind of thing peak Dylan would have done...). The lyrics are brilliant and given pristeen delivery to fantastic musicianship and arrangement - I've listened to this song on repeat over and over and over again ('Like a Rolling Stone'? - PAH!!) It's one of those songs like Robert Wyatt's 'Sea Song', Dennis Wilson's 'Time', Neko Case's 'Tightly', My Bloody Valentine's 'Loomer' & Scott Walker's 'Farmer in the City' I can just get lost in...Just listen to those words sung that way with that voice: "It's not your face or the color of your hair/Or the sound of your voice my dear that's got me dragged in here/(change in phrasing)It's the ice in the seam, the scheme of you/(another shift)You're supposed to have the answer/You're supposed to have living proof...Yes I was jealous- cos you are sworn (you're sworn...)/How could you come undone to a word so strong?/(another change in emphasis)My beating heart the anchor to a ship so warm/(building on the previous conclusion)/You're supposed to have the answer/You're supposed to have living proof - Well I am your answer/I am living...Will you terrorize this with your perfect lips?/I watch you eat and feed this mess to the running wind [Dylanesque in its obliqueness!]/(the change...)But I know you from before and after until then/Do you have your answer?/Do you have living proof?/Well I am your answer - I am living...(...and the song builds to a testimonial climax)You're supposed to have an answer/You're supposed to have living proof/Well do you have your answer?/Well I am your answer/I am living..." A perfect song and number one for eternity in my happy utopia...

'The Greatest' is a fantastic album, adding to the brilliant career thus far - shame Marshall's cancelled the tour - can we have another album recorded in some woods please? In the meantime, this has a lovely new cover featuring lovely Chan and contains the singles 'The Greatest', 'Lived In Bars' & new single 'Could We.' But it's worth buying for 'Living Proof', a song I listened to 27 times last night...
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