Steppenwolf

Universal Masters Collection

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Like any record company worth their salt, MCA knows a good gimmick when they see it, and when the millennium came around -- well, the 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection wasn't too far behind. Supposedly, the millennium is a momentous occasion, but it's hard to feel that way when it's used as another excuse to turn out a budget-line series. But apart from the presumptuous title, 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection turns out to be a very good budget-line series. True, it's impossible for any of these brief collections to be definitive, but they're nevertheless solid samplers that don't feature a bad song in the bunch. For example, take Steppenwolf's 20th Century volume -- it's an irresistible ten-song summary of their MCA years. There may be a couple of noteworthy songs missing, but many of their best-known songs for the label are here, including "Born to Be Wild," "Magic Carpet Ride," "Rock Me," "Snowblind Friend," "Hey Lawdy Mama," "Ride with Me," and "The Pusher." Serious fans will want something more extensive, but this is an excellent introduction for neophytes and a great sampler for casual fans, considering its length and price. That doesn't erase the ridiculousness of the series title, but the silliness is excusable when the music and the collections are good.

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