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Download The Greatest (Japan Edition)

by Cat Power
  • Release type: Compilation
  • Year: 2005
  • Tracks: 14
  • Duration: 46:46
  • Size, Mb: 107.31
  • Bitrate: MP3 320
  • Genre: Pop/Rock, Folk


You can listen to every single track on Kenny Rogers & the First Edition Greatest Hits, but what is most striking about this collection of songs is the brilliance of two tracks, Mike Settle's "But You Know I Love You," followed here by their first hit single, "Just Dropped In" (as it is called on this collection's cover, the label on the vinyl has the lengthy "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)"). The band could have evaporated after releasing just those two titles and would have been revered as pop maestros; both compositions are not what one would expect from exiles of the New Christy Minstrels. This album puts it into perspective with the seven Top 40 hits the group accrued between 1968 and 1970, as well as "Love Woman," "Momma's Waiting," and the Mac Davis title "I Believe in Music," which Gallery hit with and which was covered by many others, including Helen Reddy. It's not chronological, and opening up with "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" (as Rogers does with his 1978 solo greatest hits package, Ten Years of Gold) is probably more of a personal decision. The sizzling guitars on the neo-hard rock "Just Dropped In" are relegated to the middle of the disc, though a Mick Jagger would have opened the album up with his "always hit 'em hard at first" mindset. But regardless of the tracking, the First Edition truly is a band that racked up an impressive array of hits which do not get their fair share of play on classic rock stations, some major oldies stations also neglecting what is an amazing body of work. Kenny Rogers' career and fame in country and pop music eradicated the value of this group on the live circuit, something many of its contemporaries embraced. Sad to say, a reunion of the First Edition would not get the response it deserves,as those who want to hear this material do so when Kenny Rogers comes to town. It's a credit to his skills as a businessman and performer, but the body of work created by his late-'60s/early-'70s group was substantial, and spinning The First Edition Greatest Hits puts it into perspective. The inclusion of "Love Woman" and "Momma's Waiting" takes away some of the momentum of the more familiar tunes -- and the album would've been better served by a performance where Thelma Lou Camacho was lead vocalist, or the addition of a song which showcased Mike Settle's talents. (This was, after all, a band.) The Alex Harvey composition "Molly" from the Tell It All Brother album would also have been a nice addition to this. But eight out of ten is not a bad batting average, and there are eight home runs here -- that's more music recognizable to the general public than the Youngbloods and the Zombies had combined, and look at how many packages and re-packages those two groups have been blessed with. the First Edition never got the respect it richly deserved and this album with its wonderful Jimmy Bowen and Mike Post production work is important and still fun to listen to. Rogers re-cut five of these titles for his Ten Years of Gold disc on United Artists six years later in 1977, and those solo renditions of First Edition music take up side one of his personal "Greatest Hits" collection. The First Edition Greatest Hits comes in two editions on vinyl, a slick silver/aluminum cardboard package with a classy large flap, and a more conventional gray album cover that opens on the side (the latter version also utilized by the mail order "record clubs").

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