Although they aren't as well-remembered by the general public as Donny Osmond or Leif Garrett, the Hudson Brothers were a major presence on the teen idol scene during the mid-'70s, thanks to a string of variety shows that made them fixtures of Saturday morning television. They also recorded albums for the teen idol market, but their style was radically different from the usual teen idol fare. Instead of emulating David Cassidy, the Hudson Brothers recorded classic pop in the style of the Beatles or the Beach Boys (they also wrote most of their own songs). As a result, the Hudson Brothers' recorded legacy is on a whole different plane from typical 1970s teen idol sounds, and the best of this work is captured on So You Are a Star: The Best of the Hudson Brothers. Their sound combines an array of classic pop influences with a lush 1970s production style, and produced a pair of notable hits in "So You Are a Star" and "Rendezvous." Both songs show off their incredible gift to create original tunes that sound like their heroes: "So You Are a Star" stunningly recreates the woozy, psychedelic feel of "Strawberry Fields Forever," while "Rendezvous" is a perfect Beach Boys pastiche, right down to the boogie-woogie organ and doo wop vocal harmonies. Despite this gift for mimicry (which may have hurt their ability to be taken seriously by the rock press), other tracks on this collection show the Hudson Brothers were more than mere imitators. For instance, "Spinning the Wheel" is a piano-driven power pop tune with melodic and harmonic twists worthy of the Raspberries, and "Lonely School Year" effectively contrasts a languid, lovely vocal melody with some frenetic rhythm guitar work to create a tune that is energetic and beautiful all at once. The group also throws in some new tracks for this compilation, the best being "Sweet Cindy," a rollicking mid-tempo track with a surprising country-rock feel to it. All in all, So You Are a Star: The Best of the Hudson Brothers is an extremely potent collection of pop tunes that is begging for rediscovery by 1970s power pop fanatics. Anyone who enjoys groups like the Raspberries or Badfinger will find plenty to enjoy on this disc.
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AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco