Relix's Best of Kingfish

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Relix's Best of Kingfish draws the bulk of its material from the group's 1985 self-titled rarities offering and Alive in '85, a concert performance from Mill Valley, CA. So, even though it spans the first 12 years of the group's career, the set is hardly definitive, as it includes no official album material. In lieu of a more comprehensive set, however, Relix's Best Of does provide an accurate cross-section of the band's repertoire. Unfortunately, Kingfish was all too capable of lapsing into a sort of automatic bar band mode, particularly in concert. Songs like "Statesboro Blues," "Next Time You See Me," and "Money Honey" all fall into that category and suffer in comparison to bluesman John Lee Hooker's performance on "Put Your Hand on Me, Babe." The song, which also features guitar legend Mike Bloomfield, is notable for some inspired harp playing by Matthew Kelly. The set's finest moments, however, come courtesy of Grateful Dead singer/guitarist Bob Weir, who delivers shining vocal performances on both "Dangerous Relations" and "Riding High." Following the release of its third album, 1978's Trident, Kingfish failed to release a studio set for years. The band continued to tour regularly, releasing a series of live documents along the way, but there was a general lack of fresh, original material from the band. Relix's Best Of reflects this, warranting a more tightly compiled anthology of the band's work that focuses on the studio sets.

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