Best Of The Four Freshmen


rovi.MR0000833522 5/7/02 Used

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    Best Of The Four Freshmen Collectors' Choice Music

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Review Text The 24-song Best of the Four Freshman: The Liberty Years collection comes from what is, for most people, a relatively obscure period in the history of the Four Freshmen, their 1968-1969 tenure on Liberty Records, which encompassed three LPs, including a wonderfully sung and incredibly rare live album done in Tokyo. The British invasion having wiped out their recognition as a cutting-edge ensemble, they sought to keep abreast of the change in public taste by moving their repertory into the 1960s and away from the 1940s and '50s standards around which they'd original built their sound. The results were mixed -- they sounded too much like an "easy listening" group, and their name and look were still too dated ever to let them compete on the pop charts or Top 40 radio, but their harmonies were just as beguiling as ever on renditions of "A Man and a Woman," "Walk On By," "Michelle," "Cherish/Windy Medley," and even "Everyday People" -- and they come within inches of sounding like a fully competitive, contemporary act on "Love Is a Happy Thing." The quartet was no longer quite as self-contained an outfit as it had been in the 1950s, but the group's singing was still impeccable, and the presence of an electric guitar in the mix on songs like that and "I Will Wait for You" gave the music at least a foothold in the decade. One can hear their acknowledgements of acts that had successfully absorbed and reconstituted their sound, including Spanky & Our Gang ("Bird Avenue"), illustrating precisely how wired up they were musically to the pop charts of the day -- though they never charted with the material here, the mix of voices and the surprising wrinkles given most of the material makes this best-of a most worthwhile investment. The sound is excellent, and the annotation by original member Ross Barbour provides some perspective on the decisions about recording. ~ Bruce Eder

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. It's Not Unusual - 3:47
  2. 2. Man and a Woman - 3:12
  3. 3. Everyday People - 3:39
  4. 4. I Will Wait for You - 3:48
  5. 5. Walk on By - 3:42
  6. 6. Fools Rush In - 3:27
  7. 7. Byrd Avenue - 2:18
  8. 8. Michelle - 3:51
  9. 9. California My Way - 2:22
  10. 10. Shadow of Your Smile - 5:50
  11. 11. When the Feeling Hits You - 3:01
  12. 12. Wonderful World of Color - 3:39
  13. 13. Love Is a Happy Thing - 3:32
  14. 14. Daydream - 2:08
  15. 15. Medley: Cherish/Windy - 3:54
  16. 16. Medley: Come Fly With Me/Up-Up and Away - 2:08
  17. 17. Medley: It's a Blue World/By the Time I Get to Phoenix - 3:07
  18. 18. Misty Roses - 2:11
  19. 19. My Special Angel - 3:50
  20. 20. Old Friends - 3:05
  21. 21. Winchester Cathedral - 3:41
  22. 22. Canadian Sunset - 3:25
  23. 23. Girl Talk - 3:00
  24. 24. Beautiful Friendship - 3:49

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