Best Ones

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Mass is one of New England's premier rock bands, and this 16-track compact disc (on the Fore Reel imprint owned by industry legends Hernando and Doreen Courtright) is a good primer for the uninitiated. The first three tracks are from their very first, self-titled debut, released in 1984. Those titles give a glimpse of the band in their early days. That they open the Best Ones album with their earliest material shows the faith the band has in it, and in themselves. While other groups come and go, Mass has kept it together. Three tracks from the 1985 RCA release New Birth -- including the video/minor hit "Do You Love Me" -- are followed by "Watch Her Walk" and the very strong "Over You." These two titles were produced by John Rollo who worked with the Kinks and Joe Cocker. Released on the Enigma subsidiary, Medusa Records, they were a brush-up for the full Enigma release produced by Michael Sweet of Stryper. Four tracks from that release, Voices in the Night, are included here, the title track being one of them. One of the rarest Mass songs finally sees the light of day, and it is one of the three bonus tracks. Cut number 14 is "Bad Man's Reputation," one of the songs the band recorded for A&M Records in 1982 with Tom Alum of Judas Priest and Black Sabbath fame -- an album that was never released because of a lengthy legal battle with their former manager. It is an important piece of Boston rock & roll history, and good to finally hear. The CD ends with two 1997 songs recorded, again, by John Rollo -- a pairing that seems to work. Those two tracks, "Seven Days" and "Who Am I," give fans a taste of things to come, as they are included on the next album as well. The only complaint is that there is not enough information included in the booklet.

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