The La's

Callin' All

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Designed as a clearinghouse of all unreleased La’s recordings, it goes without saying that the four-disc box Callin' All is something for the dedicated, holding little allure for anybody who doesn’t consider the La’s lone 1990 album as something mythical. In fact, it’s possible, even likely, that the 92 tracks contained on Callin' All may not even be that enticing even to those who couldn’t resist such previous excavations of the vaults, such as the BBC sessions and the deluxe reissue that contained the original Mike Hedges version of the album, because none of this is much more than enjoyable ephemera, alternate versions of the same 12 songs you know by heart, alternate versions that aren’t all that different. It takes some close listening to discover the odd buried surprise -- most notably the weird, unfinished skronk-blues of “Ride Yer Camel” -- among all the alternate versions, but to the devoted, there is certainly joy in repetition here; there is no more La’s forthcoming, so digging deep is the only pleasure to be had, and while that will undoubtedly baffle those who wonder how one classicist guitar pop album could spawn such an exhaustive retrospective, those who know why will surely enjoy Callin' All.

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