Johnny Rivers

Anthology, 1964-1977

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Anthology, 1964-1977 Review

by Bruce Eder

The 36 songs here, spread over two CDs, don't cover Johnny Rivers' early, pre-Liberty Records career, but they do represent the broadest cross section of his hits for that label and beyond, B-sides, and superior album tracks assembled to date in one place. As revealed here, Rivers is a very versatile, somewhat underrated talent whose range extends far beyond Top 40 rock, "Secret Agent Man" or any other single hit, into folk, soul, and blues, all of which he plays with an unpretentious honesty. He remained remarkably consistent through the psychedelic era and into the 1970s, even amid the twin onslaughts of disco and punk, and there are no real weak points on this set. Additionally, the notes give a reasonably detailed picture of Rivers' life and career, which started far earlier (1957) than most listeners realize, and the sound is up to Rhino Records' usual standard, in terms of quality and the selection of masters.

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