Peter Frampton

Gold

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Listening to Peter Frampton is like sitting in the back of an old station wagon on a hot summer's day with all of the windows rolled down; it's unremarkably comforting. The former British press-appointed "Face of 1968" went from the Preachers to the Herd to Humble Pie before unleashing the record that would haunt garage sales for the next 30 years (Frampton Comes Alive!) and secure him a place in the pop culture totem pole. A&M's surprisingly thorough and creative Gold series has been producing some wonderful two-disc compilations of classic rock artists that include both the bread and butter as well as the meat, a system that works wonders for the career of one Peter Frampton. Hearing "Doobie Wah," "Show Me the Way," "Do You Feel Like We Do," and "I'm in You" -- the latter still featuring one of the best snare sounds ever -- alongside immediate post-Humble Pie offerings like "It's a Plain Shame" and "All I Want to Be (Is By Your Side)" as well as late-career oddities like "Theme from Nivram," a way-cool, surf-heavy instrumental B-side from 1982's Art of Control, paints the artist as more than just the guy who made the talk-box a necessary tool for aspiring guitar players everywhere. Frampton never meant to sell a million copies of a 1975 live concert in San Francisco; he just wanted to perform, and hearing him smile through covers both new ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps") and old ("Jumping Jack Flash") reveals a man and a boy who never fell out of love with the simple joy of playing rock & roll.

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