'Greatest Hits & Essential Tracks' has a lot going for it - no question about that. Not only do you get a 'Greatest Hits' Cd to enjoy there is a bonus Cd of rare and unreleased material and 12" remixes. Add to this one of the most interesting and worthwhile booklets I have ever found in a dance related release (that comprehensively tells the life story of the band and all whom were a part of it over the years) and you would think I could award nothing but 5 stars for this album, wouldn't you?
Well, while I can see an argument for the awarding of 5 stars, but for me this is still not the DEFINITIVE package to provide fans with all of the bands best work. For a start, YET AGAIN the compilers have deliberately chosen to omit all of the groups best ballads. James 'Crabs' Robinson has a voice to rival Luther any day given the right song and on 'Sharing Your Love' - the track he wrote for the bands third album his vocals send a shiver right down your spine! On the album 'Miracles' (the groups second album) there was another 'Crabs' classic in 'Stop To Love' (which incidentally, was a U.K single) but alas AGAIN both of these classic tracks have been omitted when collating the groups best moments! Thus, while this cd is great for sticking on at a party, it is not a great album listen and the truly great tracks like 'The Glow Of Love', The Very Best In You', 'Paradise' and 'A Lovers Holiday' eventually stand out even more from the other songs as the best tracks.
Another problem with this collection is that the 'Greatest Hits' cd features edited versions of all (or most) of the songs. This means that while the second cd does include some rare 12" versions and interesting artifacts it does NOT provide fans with the full versions of say 'Searching' or 'Change Of Heart' for example. I can only think that the thinking behind this release is that most people will already have those versions by now, which, I have to concede I already do. In fact, the reason I decided to buy this collection was to obtain the two unreleased songs. Both turn out to be from an unreleased album recorded in 1990 and featuring the lead vocals of Patrick Booth. Both songs are good (and worth owning) but nothing like the quality of the groups earlier classics but then I would say that as, a big fan of 'Crab's (can you tell! HA HA,) I was hoping the songs were from the bands earlier years.
The two Change megamixes on the second disc are interesting in a way but hardly essential and in the case of the 'Froggy & Simon Harris Mix' only really serve to highlight how far the art of megamixing has come on these days - the edits being very forced and very starchy in most cases. As for the longer version of 'The Glow Of Love' it is just that - longer and I personally feel they did the right thing in editing it down a bit making it punchier.
So, there you have it! A good release and one of great interest to anyone with an interest in Jacques Fred Petrus/ Mauro Malavasi productions but PLEAAASEE can someone compile a best of 'James 'Crabs' Robinson for me!!
on 15 September 2010
Change were arguably one of the best soul/dance acts of the 1980's and originally were just a collaboration of session musicians and songwriters. They also had the distinction of introducing the world to probably the greatest soul voice of all time, Luther Vandross.
The first CD is a compilation of some of the finest songs of their 6 album career. There is a glaring omission in my view, the song "Warm" from the "Change of Heart" album, although it does appear as part of a medley on CD2.
The second CD comprised remixes, extended versions, medleys and two tracks from an album made in 1990 but not released until 2009. Track this album down if you can - you can download it from "Juno" or purchase the CD from "Dusty Groove."
This package also includes an extremely informative 32 page booklet on the "Change" story. I can forgive the grammatical errors (it was compiled by a Scandinavian) because it is so informative.
It would be unfair and indeed difficult to pick favourite tracks because, without exception, these were all special songs when originally released. The consistency of the songwriting was unprecedented.
This is one of the finest compilation albums ever and excellent value for money. I already have all six albums on vinyl and purchased this purely for the two "unreleased" tracks and the aforementioned excellent booklet on the history of the band. This in itself allowed me to track down the "unreleased" album which features several more great songs.
Change were one of the bands around during the late 70's (formed in '79) and into the 80s. I fell in love with their music when they were around. Luther Vandross was on at least two songs that I remember, both captured on this album. The music in itself was, and continues to be an absolute delight.
This is a double album and you'll find longer mixes of a few songs, as well as some other delightful music. I recently featured Change in a radio programme - that's how good they are.