Until the release of All the Leaves Are Brown in the summer of 2001, this two-LP-on-one-CD import and its companion volume, containing the quartet's first two albums, were both very sensible investments. The remastering job on both albums (neither of which had been remastered by MCA in America) is superb and the bass on "Twelve Thirty," for one, fairly booms out, but with a nice rich tone. The instruments are good and close and the vocals are radiant throughout. The two albums actually flow together fairly well, though one gets a real sense of a loss of energy on The Papas & the Mamas album, juxtaposed here with the group's preceding album. One also gets a sense of a narrower reach on the material; where Deliver was most definitely a lively, energetic rock album, fully one-third of The Papas & the Mamas comes off as more pop than rock, despite the presence of songs such as "Twelve Thirty." This was probably less a conscious decision than a result of the loss of enthusiasm for continuing on the part of the four members, and a shortage of material that matched the standard set by the three preceding albums. Still, it's all good listening, the sound is comparable to that on All the Leaves Are Brown, and the annotation is enlightening and informative, albeit repeating much of the established history of the quartet from beginning to end. There is one bonus track and an alternate take of "The Right Somebody to Love."
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