The April Wine entry in Capitol Records' midline-priced Classic Masters series is a reasonable best-of culled from the group's tenure at Capitol from the late '70s to the mid-'80s. It includes all six of the band's U.S. singles chart entries between 1979 and 1984, "Roller," "I Like to Rock," "Just Between You and Me," "Sign of the Gypsy Queen," "Enough Is Enough," and "This Could Be the Right One." (Of course, the 1972 Top 40 hit "You Could Have Been a Lady," released in the U.S. on Big Tree Records, is not included, nor are any of April Wine's pre- or post-Capitol recordings.) The collection is weakened by the compiler's decision to fill out the rest of the disc by including tracks from all six of the Capitol studio albums, even the commercially negligible contractual-obligation LP Walking Through Fire, and to balance the choices among them; there are only two selections from million-selling masterwork The Nature of the Beast, for instance. Further weakening the set is the decision to use songs that happen to have been released as singles, such as "Get Ready for Love" and "Tonite," even though they had no chart action, in place of album tracks like "All Over Town" and "If You See Kay" that enjoyed measurable AOR radio play. Covers of the Beatles' "Tell Me Why" and King Crimson's "21st Century Schizoid Man" indicate the group's influences even if they are not among its finer moments. But maybe this just means that Classic Masters is a representative survey of April Wine's Capitol period, rather than a presentation of all the highlights. The 24-bit digitally remastered sound is excellent, and the price is attractive, so the album can be recommended to fans of '70s and '80s hard rock who may have missed this band during its heyday.
Classic Masters Review
by William Ruhlmann