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MUSIC REVIEW: NELSON – Greatest Hits (And Near Misses)

| 10 August 2022 | Reply

Label: UMG Recordings

Release Date: July 8, 2022

Rating: 97%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Reviewing live albums or greatest hits packages are not my normal fare.  While I love hits albums for the easy access to the more well-known tracks, you often miss some great uncovered gems that radio, the label, or casual fans dismissed.  Also, you sometimes miss out of songs that were meant to be played with others on the original release.  I feel both of these are true regarding Nelson’s catalog.  The first album released in 1990 killed it and was full of radio friendly rockers that had rock, ballad, and a swirl of everything in them.. Fast forward to the next disc and the acoustic treatment of most tracks was lost on a lot of fans that dug the first record.  I loved it, but feel I may have been in the minority.  What I will chime in on here are the Near Misses or lesser known tracks from releases and remind you both now and later to visit the original discs in their entirety… I guarantee, if you like Nelson you will find something hidden that you dig over and over.  The debut album gets a lot of airtime on this release with title track “After The Rain,” “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection,” “More Than Ever,” “Only Time Will Tell,” and “I Can Hardly Wait.”  The gem for me here is “Too Many Dreams.”  This Japanese edition bonus track fit right in with the rest of the debut release and featured the swirl of guitars and keyboards underneath the twins vocals as well as some heavy handed bass lines.  Listening through, you feel as if you have heard it before but the familiarity is in the structure, production, and groove that was created at the same time as the other rockers from this great release.  The Nelson brothers followed this success recording another album that got shelved for a few years (and omitted from this releases tracklist) and their next release was the acoustic flavored Because They Can, represented by “Cross My Broken Heart,” “Won’t Walk Away,” and a personal favorite from the disc “(You Got Me) All Shook Up.”

Fast forward to 1997 and The Silence Is Broken, and you get another soft acoustic track “What About Me?” that demonstrates these guys are no one-trick pony adding a country feel woven into the songs construction, giving a nod to their dad, Rick.  The song would have worked and probably received more exposure on the Because We Can disc, but they needed to find this one sonically, hence the wait.  “A Girl Like That from 1999’s Life release is a return to the sound and vibe that helped break them in 1990 without sounding rehashed and overdone.  The layered vocals on the verse and chorus are amazing and add depth and punch to not only this track, but the overall disc.  The music sensibility would have made this a radio hit if given the opportunity… I know I still spin this disc with regularity.  Attempting to catch lighting once again in a similar jar, the duo recorded and released Lightning Strikes Twice and they got damn close musically, but without the exposure of a large label, MTV, and radio twenty years later, their 2010 release full of great music a lot of people would never hear until now.  Three of the best tracks were culled from the disc for this collection with “Call Me,” “You’re All I Need Tonight,” and “Take Me There” tossed across this hits collection as near misses I am sure, but the only thing they missed in my opinion is getting played where more people could absorb and love the songs.  Five years later still riding the rock wave that launched them and they road again in 2010, their next disc featured many songs that were interchangable with some early songs including the featured track “Rockstar.”  I still get hyped up when I hear this one crank through my stereo in the office or car.  Another track that caught my attention here was the acoustic remake of Japanese edition track “Keep One Heart” from the debut release After The Rain.  The songs structure is in place, but the stripped down approach to the track adds to the songs dimension.  I first heard this track as the closing studio recording on the live release Perfect Storm.  I dig the rock version and this version equally.  Finally is a song that pulls from the twins catalog from the time BEFORE they were actually recording their debut release for Geffen.  While that disc was in production, they were offered a spot on the Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure soundtrack and created the band name for the release.  This is a great song that could have been cleaned up a bit in production and added to that debut, but the rough and tumble sound and attitude on this one give it not only a great story, but a punchy sound.  As promised earlier, I reviewed the lesser known tracks and will once again implore you to get out there and find the original discs and dig in… you just might find a great new old album.

Tracklisting: After The Rain – (Can’t Live Without Your) Love And Affection – Call Me – You’re All I Need Tonight – More Than Ever – Only Time Will Tell – Too Many Dreams – Cross My Broken Heart – Won’t Walk Away – A Girl Like That – (You Got Me) All Shook Up – What About Me? – Keep One Heart (Acoustic Version) – I Can Hardly Wait – Two Heads Are Better Than One – Rockstar – Take Me There






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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