Pretty much exactly what it says it is – a combination of the two releases, the Bloodied But Unbowed compilation and the War On 45 EP, on one compact disc. The remastering job is fine, the cover art is all reproduced, and there are even complete lyrics, with one or two exceptions. Anyone wanting to give these guys a listen should start right here.
Waters' The Real Folk Blues and More Real Folk Blues, combined here onto one CD, were not exactly random collections of tracks – the quality was too consistently high for them to just have been picked out of a hat. Still, it was a pretty arbitrary grouping of items that he recorded between 1947 and 1964. In fact, they hail from throughout his whole stint at Chess, virtually; at the time these albums were first issued, though, all of the material on More Real Folk Blues was from the late '40s and early '50s. They didn't exactly concentrate on his most well-known songs, but they didn't entirely neglect them either, including "Mannish Boy," "Walking Thru the Park," "The Same Thing," "Rollin' & Tumblin' Part One," "She's Alright," and "Honey Bee," amongst somewhat more obscure selections. So ultimately, this disc's usefulness depends on your fussiness as a collector – if it's the only Waters you ever pick up, you'll still have a good idea of his greatness, and if you don't mind getting some tracks you might already have on more avowedly best-of sets, you'll probably hear some stuff you don't already have in your collection.
Although former New Christy Minstrels singer Barry McGuire scored a fluke novelty hit with the Bob Dylan-styled folk-rock protest anthem "Eve of Destruction" in the summer of 1965, neither he nor producer Lou Adler's startup label Dunhill Records seems to have had a long-term plan for his solo career beyond trying to score another hit single. Naturally, Dunhill quickly issued an Eve of Destruction LP, filling the tracks with McGuire covers of recent folk hits and more originals by P.F. Sloan, who'd penned the hit. Sloan also wrote the follow-up singles "Child of Our Times" and "This Precious Time," neither of which made the Top 40. By the end of the year, Dunhill had another McGuire LP, This Precious Time, again mixing Sloan songs with other people's hits like "Do You Believe in Magic" and "Yesterday." That is the first of two McGuire albums combined on this two-fer CD reissue.
This release from the BGO label combines two of Gino Vannelli's albums for A&M, Powerful People (1974) and Storm at Sunup (1975). Both releases peaked in the Top 60 of the Billboard 200, while “People Gotta Move” – the lead song on the former – was one of Vannelli’s biggest singles and narrowly missed the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. Those who pick up a well-chosen Vannelli compilation can get the essential songs, but soft rock diehards can obtain a fair amount of Vannelli’s choice album-bound material right here.
Gang of Four's existence had as much to do with Slave and Chic as it did the Sex Pistols and the Stooges, which is something Solid Gold demonstrates more than Entertainment! Any smartypants can point out the irony of a band on Warner Bros. railing against systematic tools of control disguised as entertainment media, but Gang of Four were more observational than condescending. True, Jon King and Andy Gill might have been hooting and hollering in a semiviolent and discordant fashion, but they were saying "think about it" more than "you lot are a bunch of mindless puppets." Abrasiveness was a means to grab the listener, and it worked. Reciting Solid Gold's lyrics on a local neighborhood corner might get a couple interested souls to pay attention. It isn't poetry, and it's no fun; most within earshot would just continue power-walking or tune out while buffing the SUV. Solid Gold has that unholy racket going on beneath the lyrics, an unlikely mutation of catchiness and atonality that made ears perk and (oddly) posteriors shake. With its slightly ironic title, Solid Gold is more rhythmically grounded than the fractured nature of Entertainment!, a politically charged, more Teutonic take on funk. It's a form of release for paranoid accountants.