The Raspberries

The Capitol Collectors Series

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Intermixing singles with the band's best accompanying album tracks, this 20-song retrospective gives a good overall impression of the Raspberries' strengths across their two years of recording, as well as hints of some weaknesses in the way they were represented on record. As expected, Eric Carmen is the dominant songwriter, but Wally Bryson and David Smalley also show up with "Last Dance" and "Hard to Get Over a Heartbreak," respectively, along with Scott McCarl ("Rose Coloured Glasses"), to give a hint of the range of composing talent in the band in its different phases. It's astonishing how many of their LP cuts would have made superb singles in their own right. It's clear listening to this collection that, between the record company's apparent inability to market their material to its fullest potential and the group's fear of sounding too English, that some killer tracks, like "Nobody Knows" with appealing hooks, a great beat, and overflowing with melodic teen angst, and "Hard to Get Over a Heartbreak," were overlooked as potential singles. Of course, the disputes over songwriting and the matter of who was represented on their singles (and where, the A- or B-side) were among the factors that helped kill the Raspberries after only a couple of years. This collection delineates a lot of the problems in the course of presenting the group's triumphs. An unusual amount of care has been taken in assembling the songs -- they all sound better than the original records, and the hotter single mix of "Overnight Sensation" graces this disc. A serious fan may well want to own CDs of the group's complete albums (available on RPM Records on two CDs), but this is one time that Capitol Records did right by one of its own acts.

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