Conductor, composer, violinist, and pianist Mantovani was one of the most popular and prolific easy listening artists of all time. His trademark "cascading strings" (or "tumbling strings") effect gave him an instantly recognizable sound, and his heavy reliance on the string section in general helped map out the blueprint for much of the light orchestral music that followed in his wake. His repertoire did feature original compositions, but was built chiefly on lush adaptations of familiar melodies: TV and movie themes, show tunes, pop hits (chiefly of the MOR variety), classical material, and the like. Starting his career in the '20s, Mantovani was very much a product of the recording age: he focused almost entirely on recording, instead of live performance; he was one of the first artists to utilize the LP as a primary medium for his releases (as opposed to singles); he was one of the first popular artists to use stereo recording technology, and likely the first to sell over a million records in the stereo format. Fascinated by the studio recording process, he experimented restlessly with miking methods and other technical nuances over the course of an astoundingly large discography – more than 50 albums from the early '50s until his death in 1980 (not counting his numerous 78 rpm records, dating back to the late '20s).
M.U. falls into the classic example of a compilation that is bound to irritate the dedicated yet will satisfy the needs of less devoted listeners. Since Jethro Tull is a prog rock band that made cohesive concept albums, there will always be an audience that will believe it is impossible to assemble a coherent anthology, but the fact of the matter is, the group had a lot of songs that were staples on album rock radio and M.U. simply compiles those tracks for listeners who don't want to invest in a series of concept records…
The Farm were never one of the great Madchester bands, writing only one truly memorable single ("All Together Now") and turning out a bunch of pleasant, nondescript baggy. The Best of the Farm collects all of the singles and highlights from the group's three albums. There aren't any hidden treasures here, but anyone nostalgic for the pleasures of loping beats, baggy clothes, neo-psychedelia and buckets of Ecstasy should be pleased with this collection.
Best Of Street New Orleans is giving 10 local musicians an opportunity to professionally record and produce The Best Of Street album.
Georges Brassens was a French singer-songwriter and poet. He wrote and sang, with his guitar, more than a hundred of his poems, as well as texts from many others such as Victor Hugo, Paul Verlaine, or Louis Aragon. In 1967, he received the Grand Prix de Poésie of the Académie française. Between 1952 and 1976, he recorded fourteen albums that include several popular French songs such as Les copains d'abord, Chanson pour l'Auvergnat, La mauvaise réputation, and Mourir pour des idées. Most of his texts are black humour-tinged and often anarchist-minded.
Twenty-five tracks round up an extremely haphazard but nevertheless intriguing "best of" Marc Bolan's last five years, drawing equally from the regular albums and familiar boogies, and the wealth of archival material excavated by the Unchained and Alternate series. Certainly not compiled with the hit hunter in mind (only "The Groover" and "Dreamy Lady" truly fall into that category), Very Best of, Vol. 2 is instead devoted to illustrating as many facets of Bolan's career as it could, from the pensive introspection of "Spaceball Ricochet," to the grinding self-aggrandizement of "The Groover," and onto the sharp autobiography of "Over the Flats" and "Funky London Childhood." As such, and especially when viewed in tandem with Very Best of, Vol. 1, it serves up a delightful portrait of Bolan's '70s, at a price that is difficult to squabble with.