The Best of Orpheus

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

This double-CD compilation includes almost all of the tracks from their first three albums, as well as a couple from the one they did in 1971 for Bell (by which time Bruce Arnold was the only remaining original member). Over the course of two discs the group is given a more comprehensive and respectful retrospective than they deserve; the lushness turns to mushiness for all but the most rabid sunshine pop fans. Despite the volume of material, the packaging isn't so hot either. Stray tracks are missing from the first two LPs, and although some of the material is apparently rare and unreleased (as it doesn't appear on the albums), details are not given in the extensive, typically self-aggrandizing liner notes by producer Alan Lorber; in fact, a few tracks are identified as coming from specific albums when in fact they did not appear on those discs. Those tracks include an alternate version of "Can't Find the Time to Tell You"; the peculiar "Anatomy of I've Never Seen Love Like This" (in which Lorber and Arnold, with narration, illustrate how they layered and produced an Orpheus track); and a live version of "Just a Little Bit" (redone on the second LP) by the Villagers, the pre-Orpheus folk duo that included future Orpheus members Bruce Arnold and Jack McKenes. The booklet manages to include a lot of information about the band without coming close to conveying a cohesive chronological history.

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