Nanci Griffith

Wings to Fly and a Place to Be: An Introduction

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This European import provides an adequate introduction to singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith's first four albums on MCA. Oddly, there is no material from Late Night Grande Hotel -- one of her best efforts during her run on the label. However, what is included represents an even-handed assortment of some of her best-known works from the late '80s. Griffith's first long-player for MCA was Lone Star State of Mind (1987) -- from which "Trouble in the Fields," "From a Distance," "Ford Econoline," and the title track are derived. Storms (1987) was a rapidly issued follow-up and was likewise Griffith's breakout release. The tracks "Listen to the Radio," "I Don't Wanna Talk About Love," and her international hit "It's a Hard Life Where Ever You Go" are all featured here. Unfortunately, a few of Griffith's signature pieces -- such as "If Wishes Were Changes," "You Made This Love a Teardrop," and "Drive-In Movie and Dashboard Lights" -- are not included. This is really in error, as they have become enthusiast favorites as well as concert staples. The uniformly brilliant One Fair Summer Evening is Griffith's first live album. The disc's track list includes many of her best-loved and most inspired performances, such as "Deadwood, South Dakota" and the achingly beautiful "More Than a Whisper" -- neither of which are on this collection. However, the intimate "Love at the Five and Dime" and the up-tempo toe-tapper "Spin on a Red Brick Floor" are featured on this anthology. By contrast, almost half of her next disc, Little Love Affairs, is here, including deep cuts such as "Sweet Dreams Will Come," "I Knew Love" and the better-known "Outbound Plane," "I Wish It Would Rain," and "Gulf Coast Highway." As there are two domestic best-of discs -- MCA Years: A Retrospective and From a Distance: The Very Best of Nanci Griffith -- that practically double this collection's track list and running time, it is difficult to recommend this title more on what is excluded, rather than what is included.

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