Official Release #55. This two-CD set is the second of three albums of material Frank Zappa compiled from the 1988 tour. While Broadway the Hard Way (released in 1988) mostly presented the new songs performed during that tour, this set focuses on older songs (Make a Jazz Noise Here would contain mostly instrumental pieces). This is the best band you never heard in your life because the 12-piece group disintegrated after only four months of touring through the U.S. East Coast and Europe. These shows took place during the Jimmy Swaggart scandal, when the televangelist was caught with a prostitute.
This two-CD set is the second of three albums of material Frank Zappa compiled from the 1988 tour. While Broadway the Hard Way (released in 1988) mostly presented the new songs performed during that tour, this set focuses on older songs (Make a Jazz Noise Here would contain mostly instrumental pieces). This is the best band you never heard in your life because the 12-piece group disintegrated after only four months of touring through the U.S. East Coast and Europe. These shows took place during the Jimmy Swaggart scandal, when the televangelist was caught with a prostitute.
One of three collections from the 1988 world tour, THE BEST BAND YOU NEVER HEARD IN YOUR LIFE is a portrait of one of Zappa's most accomplished bands. Unfortunately, this band self-destructed in mid-tour and never completed their scheduled appearances. … Full DescriptionHence, the title stands for the fans that couldn't see this amazing group live. The vocals of Ike Willis and Mike Keneally, the rhythmic acrobatics of Chad Wakerman, Ed Mann and Scott Thunes, the powerful horn section including the Fowler brothers, keyboardist/vocalist Bobby Martin–it all adds up to one of the most musically agile bands Zappa ever commanded.
There are the usual Zappa favorites on disc one with "Cosmic Debris" and "Zomby Woof." The band also gets to flex its muscles on the instrumentals "Zoot Allures" and "Sofa #1." Disc two captures all the zany behavior that could be preserved on tape as bizarre covers of "Purple Haze" and "Sunshine Of Your Love" start things off. Snippets of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," "The Godfather Theme" and "Bonanza" escalate into a diatribe by right-wing character Brother A. West and several songs denouncing televangelist Jimmy Swaggart. The finale of "Stairway To Heaven" ties everything back together in grand Zappa style.
Hootie & the Blowfish never were cut out to be superstars. They were meant to be the best band at the local bar. They were ordinary guys, and they played ordinary music, the kind that could be heard in any college town on the East Coast or Midwest during the early '90s when the local bar wasn't having grunge night. It was the ordinariness of the music on their 1994 debut, Cracked Rear View, that connected with millions of American listeners – they sounded like everybody's favorite local band. Once they were superstars, their bubble burst fairly quickly as the 1996 follow-up sold considerably fewer than the debut, and by the end of the decade, they had settled into a reliable routine of turning out modest records and touring steadily, without many people outside of their core fans noticing. Their popularity might have declined, but as the 2004 Atlantic/Rhino compilation The Best of Hootie & the Blowfish (1993 Thru 2003) illustrates, their music changed very little over the course of the decade, nor did the quality of their music decline.
For all of his many attributes, one thing Frank Zappa most certainly was not is commercial. Presumably, the title of this collection is ironic. Strictly Commercial: The Best of Frank Zappa is a compilation not of the composer's hits – he only broke the Top 40 on one occasion, with "Valley Girl" – but rather, a collection of his best-known material, from "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" to "Sexual Harassment in the Workplace." Zappa's albums often function as individual works, but this disc offers an intelligent selection of songs, serving as an introduction to the maverick musician.
Simple Minds, the Scottish group led by Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill, has had a very different career in the U.S. from the one it's enjoyed in its native U.K., and that leads to different estimations of this compilation. As far as Britain is concerned, it is a much-needed, comprehensive collection of the band's hit singles, no less than 26 of which placed in the charts between 1979 and 1998, including eight that hit the Top Ten…
The tracks on The Best of the Chieftains are drawn from The Chieftains 7, The Chieftains 8, and Boil the Breakfast Early–three of the band's recordings from the late 1970s. This was the period when former Bothy Band and Planxty flautist Matt Molloy and vocalist/bodhran player Kevin Cunniffe joined up and finally fulfilled Paddy Maloney's vision of what the band should sound like. It also marks the last time the Chieftains recorded pure, unadulterated traditional Irish music.
Shriekback is not an easy band to classify. They borrowed heavily from funk but had a very different agenda; their music was more suited for contemplation than for parties. They combined synthesizers and drum machines with throbbing bass lines and unorthodox vocals to evoke a primordial world where the line between human and animal was blurred. The title of their fourth album, Big Night Music, might be the most succinct summation of their work: Shriekback's music was always an appropriate soundtrack for life in the dark, but with the emphasis on the possibilities rather than the dangers. Though often haunting, it was not gothic and harbored strains of pop and dance that rose to the surface from time to time. Still, however accessible they became, Shriekback cultivated an air of mystery that made them hard to pin down. Further complicating any evaluation of their career is the fact that they never made a single, brilliant album that concentrated all their strengths in one place; their best material is spread out across a decade during which they underwent a great deal of evolution.
L7 had the sound, style, and tough-grrrl attitude to hit it big in the aftermath of grunge's mainstream breakthrough, but unfortunately, the band was too often hampered by uneven songwriting. The Best of L7: The Slash Years collects four songs apiece from Bricks Are Heavy, Hungry for Stink, and The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum (although, as the title suggests, there's nothing from the fine Sub Pop album Smell the Magic). It's a pretty good distillation of the cream of those records, even if there are still a few tunes on Bricks Are Heavy that could have made the cut on a less mathematically selected best-of. In fact, as L7's most pop-oriented record, Bricks Are Heavy is still a slightly more accessible introduction, since following that album, the band tended to rely more on sheer power than melody. Nevertheless, The Best of L7: The Slash Years does encapsulate what the group was all about, and it's a great way to dig deeper into their catalog without having to buy all the individual albums.