The Complete Warner Bros & Valiant Doppel-CD
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Bei The Association handelt es sich um eine der besten und kommerziell erfolgreichsten amerikanischen Vocal-Gruppe der 60er Jahre. Unter dem Titel "The Complete Warner Bros & Valiant" erscheint nun eine komplette Singles-Sammlung mit sämtlichen A- und B-Seiten aus den goldenen Warner Bros. & Valiant Jahren zwischen 1966 und 1971. Inkl. vieler Raritäten (Mono- und Alternate-Mixes). Erstmalig auf CD erhältlich!
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One Too Many Mornings/Forty Times
Along Comes Mary/Your Own Love
Cherish/Don't Blame It on Me
Pandora's Golden Heebie Jeebies/Standing Still
No Fair at All/Looking Glass
Never My Love/Requiem for the Masses
Everything That Touches You/We Love Us
Time for Livin'/Birthday Morning
Six Man Band/Like Always
Goodbye Columbus/The Time It is Today
Under Branches/Hear in Here
Yes, I Will/I Am Up for Europe
Dubuque Blues/Are You Ready
Just About the Same/Look at Me, Look at You (both stereo)
Along the Way/Traveler's Guide (Spanish Flyer)
Bring Yourself Home/It's Gotta Be Real
That's Racin'/Makes Me Cry (Funny Kind of Song)
This isn't exactly a typical anthology, though, by definition, it has all of the group's hit singles from their Valiant/Warner Bros. glory days. Hardcore fans can undoubtedly name various songs they would like to see on a collection, but the b-sides do include some of their better album tracks. The big hits are all on Disc 1, though Disc 2 is pretty good, too. All but two of the tracks are mono; most of the tracks on Disc 2 are making their mono debut on CD. I happen to be partial to mono mixes of sixties pop, but I can't be the only person who thinks the stereo mixes of their biggest hits, "Cherish", "Never My Love" and, especially, "Windy", are terrible. Hearing them in mono again reminds you of why they topped the charts in the first place, though I wouldn't say that mono is a huge improvement over stereo for the songs recorded after "Six Man Band". Some of the single versions are noticeably different from the album versions ("Looking Glass", "No Fair at All", "Six Man Band", "Never My Love"). Whether they're better or worse is entirely a matter of taste. I'm no audiophile, but the sound quality seemed just fine to me.
The liner notes are good, though there is a lot of overlap with the notes from the reissues of their first four albums. About the only thing missing is that they don't explicitly tell you the lead vocalist of every song; some are obvious to more serious fans, some not so much.
If you're a serious fan with a little money to spare, I would recommend getting the Now Sounds mono reissues of their first four albums. With the bonus tracks on those discs, that will get you every song on Disc 1 of this collection, as well as the first three b-sides on Disc 2. If you're a casual fan and you already have 'Greatest Hits' or, better yet, 'Just the Right Sound', I wouldn't recommend plunking down another $25+ for this set, unless you dislike the stereo mixes as much as I do (you can do some mono vs. stereo comparisons on YouTube). However, if you're contemplating buying your first Association album, this is a great start, especially with the 'Just the Right Sound' CD no longer in print. If cost isn't an object and you're trying to decide between 'Greatest Hits' and this collection, definitely go with this one.
I already had their 1990s Greatest Hits collection which was a good group of songs but had skimpy packaging, not enough songs, and muddy sound.
I decided to get more from this band so I did some research and decided this second CD for me was going to be the last CD of this band I was going to buy, figuring if the more recent remasters of their LPs were all in mono when the original LPs were issued in real (or panned) stereo, why bother with them? I do think of them as more of a singles band than an album band as there was some filler/weak songs on every LP I've heard. So I thought mono would make sense here.
This does have a good selection of songs by The Association during their prime. It manages to effectively cover the full evolution of the band during their only viable commercial period. The only problem is, after listening to this in mostly mono, I just was getting tired of the overdose of mono. They were a good vocal band but you can't appreciate their vocal abilities with this collection. The lead singer overpowers the background vocals in a way that marginalizes the backing. Since I've already heard the stereo versions of many of these songs already for decades, this seems weak in comparison. The song "Windy" is weak here in mono compared to stereo, for example. But this is faithful to what it says it is, other than the two tracks in stereo.
That said, if someone wants a good mix of the stronger songs by this band, it is about as good of a song collection you can get, and not too much to digest. The truth is, other than the sound, this is most (or all) anyone would need by this band. Casual fans or curious could get by with "Greatest Hits". This one has way better liner notes rather than having none on "Greatest Hits".
I will have to say this package docked a bit because photos of the band are good but confusion by too many band members & changes over their most productive period is not rectified here. The essay does a good job of track-by-track stories & history but doesn't tell us who sang lead on each track, which is kind of a bummer. I guess if you want to become an "expert-level" Association fan/listener you can figure that out but who in this century wants to put in that much effort and expense? How many rock bands have 6 potential lead singers and background vocals on every track? Or, even 6 lead vocalists at once? On some songs that is kind of hard to explain, though.
Check out the you toob to know what they look like when playing. Because that may be the only way you can figure out the vocal chemistry of this band and how sophisticated & committed they were to their craft. They may be on the mellower side but I don't think I appreciated their vocal abilities as much when I was younger. Nowadays it seems we get more people who can play but can't sing, or who can sing but not play. Here the vocals are an instrument. The Association puts the vocals first. The songs surround vocal harmonies. If that is your cup of tea, you will really like this band. There's instrumental surprises here and there at times, too. But it is...pop in the end.