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The Greatest [Deluxe Digipack] Limited Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 Jan. 2006)
  • Limited Edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Matador
  • ASIN: B000C0X3ZC
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 99,628 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Greatest
  2. Living Proof
  3. Lived In Bars
  4. Could We
  5. Empty Shell
  6. Willie
  7. Where Is My Love
  8. Moon
  9. Islands
  10. After It All
  11. Hate
  12. Love And Communication
  13. Up And Gone

Product Description

Product Description

This is not a greatest hits album, despite the the title. It contains all-original songs written by Chan Marshall (professionally known as Cat Power), and features the great memphis session musicians. Teenie Hodges on guitar, Leroy Hodges on bass (Al Green, Hi Rhytms Section), drummer Steve Potts and mroe. The combation of Marshall's superbly evocative and flexible voice plus some of the greatest Southern soul player, has prodcued a masterpeice. These songs explore themes of Southern loss, longing and marginality. The limited first digipak pressing and regular single vinyl contain a onus track. After the first pressing sells out, the regular jewelcase version will not cotain a bonus track.

Amazon.co.uk

Indie-folk singer Chan Marshall has a reputation for onstage unpredictability, but some erratic (read: often drunken) live performances won’t have prepared you for the full-bodied beast that is The Greatest. Recorded with the help of a few Memphis musicians, including Al Green co-writer Mabon "Teenie" Hodges, his brother Leroy "Flick" Hodges, and present Booker T And The MGs drummer Steve Potts, this is a gentle homage to ‘70s soul that Chan carries with a sleepy-eyed charm.

Element of pastiche or not, though, there’s a vitality here that’s absent from many of her earlier recordings: "Living Proof" simmers with a just-under-the-surface raunch, Chan cooing "It’s not your face/Or the colour of your hair/Or the sound of your voice, my dear…" over the simmering organ, while even the restrained "Where Is My Love" boasts a mini-orchestra of sweeping violin and elegiac, wandering piano. Most importantly, The Greatest doesn’t suffer from the rather troublesome sense of genre tourism you get when, say, Will Oldham hooks up with a troupe of Nashville old-hands – perhaps because it’s executed so convincingly, or perhaps simply because Chan Marshall’s voice could melt your heart under any context--Louis Pattison

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Lozarithm VINE VOICE on 15 Jun. 2007
Format: 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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By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 26 April 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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!
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Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Audio CD
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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Format: Audio CD
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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