94 of 99 people found the following review helpful
It starts with the quality of the sound. It's simply superb. I'm not sure what digital magic was used, but the music sounds far superior to most re-mastered works from the late 1960's. From the clarity of the voices to the stereo separation, this is an aural treat that will make you smile with delight. Buy the CD for the sound quality alone. "If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears" indeed.
It's also a treat to have the first four albums on one double CD (plus the single, "Glad to Be Unhappy"). Except for the remarkable improvement in the sound quality, the compendium doesn't fiddle with the songs or their order. You're listening to the first four albums.
And if you do listen to the double CD, you'll find The Mamas and the Papas were considerably more than their "16 Greatest Hits" and other foolishness. Much of the time a group's experiments reveal more about them than their Top 40 successes ever can. It's all here for you.
A few quibbles: Cripes, the printing on the liner notes requires a magnifying glass - a powerful one, too - if you want to read them. And out of the thousands of photos, I think they could have found some better ones.
But you won't buy this CD for the liner notes or the photos. The Mamas and the Papas spoke with their music, sometimes gloriously, sometimes painfully, always beautifully. In two and a half years, they put together music that may very well be immortal.
50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2002
This fabulous 2-CD set consisting of the Mamas & the Papas digitally re-mastered first four albums is a big bonanza for fans! John Phillips, Denny Doherty, Cass Elliot, and Michelle Phillips' beautiful vocals JUMP RIGHT OUT AT YOU !!! These songs with their poignant lyrics, exquisite harmonies and lovely melodies show why the group has transgenerational appeal.
The primary musical creative force of the Mamas & the Papas was John Phillips. He was a solid songwriter who put his pain to pretty music. But John Phillips' true brilliance was in arranging vocals. You'd get a "high" from the Mamas & the Papas' soaring harmonies. When the foursome sang AT THE VERY TOP OF THEIR RANGE, it was instant magic. Phantom overtones!
Here are gems that show that Denny Doherty's one of the greatest singers of the rock era! His voice is clear, rich and effortless, and his beautiful lead vocals are showcased on killer tracks as "Do You Wanna Dance" "Twist and Shout," "My Girl," "Dancing Bear" (a Cass Elliot favorite), "Spanish Harlem," "You Baby," "Too Late" and not to exclude the sweet 'n hummable, "Nothing's Too Good For My Little Girl."
Denny sang lead on two of the Mamas and the Papas biggest hits; the chart-topper, "Monday, Monday" and the infinitely popular "California Dreamin." If you love his singing as much as I do on these tunes, you must get his two solo CDs: "Waiting For a Song" features romantic Denny in fine voice as well as Cass and Michelle on backing vocals. "Watcha Gonna Do," has a country-folk-rock favor, supreme musical arrangements and some of Denny's best songwriting. In addition, check out Denny's peerless work as lead vocalist on pre-Mamas & Papas' "The Complete Halifax Three."
No one sang like Cass Elliot! She was "a big girl who could sing her tail off." Cass had a rich timbre in her voice and would belt her heart out on every number. Elliot shines on the Vaudevillian, "Words of Love." Also great is her straight-from-the-heart, "Sing for Your Supper." Cass' super lung work on Lennon-McCartney's "I Call Your Name" exposes her "lust" for Beatle John, and she does a superb salute to Motown with "Dancing in the Streets."
"Glad to Be Unhappy" sings of unrequited love, where Cass Elliot can be heard singing "and I got it pretty bad," about her crush on Denny, perhaps? Some rumblings between John and Michelle surprisingly interject Cass' pretty "Midnight Voyage" lead on this number, and Elliot shows why "Dream A Little Dream" was the launching pad to her successful solo career.
You've never heard a soprano so pretty and pure as Michelle Phillips' on "Dedicated to the One I Love." Michelle also plays the ultimate rock fan with her lead vocal on "String Man." I enjoy Michelle's ethereal intro on the tune, "Got a Feelin.'" [Denny performs this number again on his great "Watcha Gonna Do" solo CD]
Both "Got A Feelin' and the Ms and Ps' classic, "I Saw Her Again" were written by Denny Doherty (melody) and John Phillips (words) about Michelle Phillips & Denny's love affair. They are two of my favorite songs. Doherty performs both these numbers in his current musical "Dream a Little Dream - the Nearly True Story of the Mamas and the Papas," along with other Mamas & Papas' hits. P>"Straight Shooter" is a great rocker, as is "That Kind of Girl" ("�.you're on your first, and she's on her twelfth.!" "�that kind of girl's the kind that makes you dizzy�you'll always ask and wonder who is he?!).
"Go Where You Wanna Go's" harmonies are stellar. "No Salt On Her Tail" (another Cass Elliot favorite) has the "boys and girls" echo each other. I love the guys' lower range here! And "Trip, Stumble and Fall" is�well�really cool!
"Strange Young Girls" is hauntingly beautiful, with nice solos from Cass and Denny. The duos' duet on "Safe In My Garden" is lovely, as well.
The surreal ending of "Even If I Could" may have put ideas in the heads of Lennon-McCartney for their "Strawberry Field's Forever" finish.
The climatic ending of "My Heart Stood Still" (Michelle Phillips' favorite) will take your breath away. And "Once Was A Time I Thought" is done acappella. No other pop foursome could sing together without accompaniment this well!
"For the Love of Ivy" was a D.Doherty/J. Phillips composition that almost made the theme song for a Sidney Poitier movie, immediately after Sidney's huge success with "To Sir With Love." The rhythmic changes will blow you away.
Also included, the awesome 1967 hits, "Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To the Canyon)," and Creeque Alley" (pronounced "Creaky"), the semiautobiographical story about how the Mamas & the Papas got their start.
Witness rare lead vocal by John Phillips on the peaceful, "Meditation Mama." And for a change of pace, "Mansions" a song about the group's lavish living, is worth a few listens.
You'll never hear voices this clear and beautiful together again!
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2004
Those who are looking for a "favorable, but.." review or more crass and cruel jokes about ham sandwiches, look elsewhere.
For us hippies in the 1960's, there were two songs that made us realize that moment when we looked up when everyone else looked down: If You're Going To San Francisco and California Dreamin'. We realized that it had nothing to do with actually GOING to San Francisco or LIVING in California - it was the idea that things would be approached differently from then on.
John Philips wrote both songs. We knew he understood something deeper about a vibe that was in the country but had not been codified - and he wasn't even a hippie himself. Funny about that.
What he did was to select the finest voices he could find among the end of the popular folk music era and bring them together to perform a new kind of music. People who mistakenly lump his work in with The Association have ears of tin (though I like their work). This is instead the crossroads of The Hi-lo's, the Weavers and a kind of unabashedly romantic soft rock (before that was a pejorative term)that has not been performed since.
This collection comprises some of the finest pure SINGING of the decade of the Sixties, and that was my revelation from it. I had not properly remembered just how good a singer Cass Elliott was. Her voice is just magnificent. Denny Doherty, as one of the two great classic voices to come out of California in the Sixties ( the other being Marty Balin) is just breathtaking in both his approach and his mastery of the material. John's backup singing and his incredible vocal arrangements just lead me to wonder what he could have done with a modern studio with 128 vocal tracks. And as for Michelle, aside from being the absoulute pinnacle of attractive female rock singers then or now, I only wish the interior relationships would have permitted her to sing more leads. The great thing about this collection though is that you can hear EACH VOICE in EACH SONG to the extent that you can follow just John's voice in I Saw Her Again or just Denny in Stumble and Fall. Every lyric in every song can be clearly heard. Imagine that today!
There is more to this collection than just music - it contains artistry. If you like SINGING, even if you aren't sure about the material, BUY THIS SET. If you like the Mamas and Papas, YOU NEED THIS SET. If you want a quick Cliff's Notes on what late 60's music was really supposed to be all about YOU WANT THIS SET.
PS: Make absolutely sure you listen to the "studio chat" piece on the end of Disc 2...it'll clean your ears.
And by the way, speaking as a hippie - Cass died from a heart attack, not from a ham sandwich. Please don't defame her memory any longer with that sad-a**ed urban legend..
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2001
This set is...an INCREDIBLE gift from the music Gods!!! All four of their original albums REMASTERED...what GLORIOUS sound! The packaging is beautiful, though it could have been better, but so WHAT? The music sounds GREAT;
"If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears" sounds even better here than on the remaster of two years ago; their VERY best album "The Mamas And The Papas" is rescued from inexplicable obscurity, featuring "Strange Young Girls" and the STUNNING "My Heart Stood Still"; their stylistically adventurous third "Deliver", with the lost gems "Boys And Girls" and "String Man" (a showcase for Mama Michelle's talents); and their bizarre, psychedelic fourth "The Papas And The Mamas" (with the masterpieces "Safe In My Garden" and "Mansions")...wich needs to be treated as the unique individual work of art that it is! BEST OF ALL...those four distinct voices blend gorgeously in harmonies that will melt your heart! And like never before, the individual gifts each singer brings are crystal clear! NEVER have they sounded this magnificent on disc! A remaster and reconsideration of all of the M & P's solo efforts is long overdue as well! In the meantime REJOICE that we have been given this...and buy it for everyone you love!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2002
There have been many Mamas and Papas compilations put together over the years, and I have listened to everyone of them (at least the ones released in the U.S.) As any Mamas and Papas fan will tell you, the only problem with these collections is the fact that it is impossible to choose 12 or 20 songs as "their best." There is always something missing.
From their very first album, Mamas and Papas records were packed with fantastic music and outstanding vocals. It wasn't just the top-ten single hits that were great, but every song was ear-candy. All the Leaves Are Brown is a two CD set that includes every song recorded for their first four albums...in order. You get all the greats..."California Dreaming," "Dedicated to the One I Love," "Monday, Monday," and "I Saw Her Again." Plus, you get other fantastic cuts that are seldom included in an anthology of this super-group's work. "Somebody Groovy," "My Heart Stood Still," "Even If I Could," and "Mansions," just to name a few.
I only wish there would have been a way to include their fifth recording, "People Like Us," in with this set. While the sound of the "People Like Us" cuts were very different, and it was not the commercial success that the first four recordings were, there are some cuts that should not be looked over. Like "Step Out," "Pearl" and the title song. Very smooth and sophisticated and would have completed a history of the music journey that Cass, John, Michelle, and Denny were on.
Yes, there are other anthologies and greatest hits packages by the Mamas and Papas out there, and some have great before-the-group and after-the-group recordings by the individual members. But the All the Leaves Are Brown set really captures what this band was all about in their heyday. Four distinct voices and personalities that merged to create a unique sound that caught the eyes and ears of a generation, and continues to be listened to and loved to this day. If you want the ultimate collection in one set, and really want to get to know the Mamas and Papas, buy this. You will love it.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2002
This collection is and always will be the best Mamas and Papas CD anyone could ever want to own. Why? Because it contains EVERY MAJOR RECORDING THEY MADE IN THE EXACT ORDER THEY MADE THEM. Nothing is missing!! Of course, I'm dismissing the half-hearted "People Like Us" contractual-obligation album recorded four years after their break-up. That one sounds like it came from another band (and Cass barely appears on it). No, these are the songs to have, and this is the place to get them. It's not just the overly familiar hits that make this indispensible. One after another, the unique album cuts reinforce why the Mamas and the Papas were so special. Songs like "No Salt On Her Tail", "Dancing Bear", the exquisite "Strange Young Girls", and the almost overwhelming "My Heart Stood Still" display the legendary harmonies of this group in all their splendor. No one was ever remotely able to duplicate what this bunch did in a few short years. It's interesting that the Mamas and the Papas were so embraced by teenagers in the 60s, because this is rather adult music, in theme and approach. Of course, no one looked or sounded like them, and the accompanying essay and photos give the uninitiated an idea of how striking and unique they truly were. Hipsters, yes. Musicians, without doubt. Listen and learn.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2003
"All the Leaves Are Brown" trumps all previous collections of because the tainted mix of the orginal masters have been given a loving digital facelift. This remastering of the four Mama's and Papa's albums is not high tech sleight of hand, but an enhancement of what fans knew was hidden in Lou Adler's atrocious rendering of the masters. John Phillips is arguably one of the great songwritters of the 20th century and it is a pleasure to hear all of the shimmering melancoly and double edged power of his lyrics. Now I finally know that it was "McGuinn and McGuire" that were getting higher in the autobiographical "Creeque Alley". It's startling to discover that Michelle Phillips actually doing something besides being the "blond hippie chick" as a counterpoint to Mama Cass' Rubenesque, earth mother beauty. The remastering has leveled the volume mix of each voice and we discover that each of the four members as equal collaborators in the intricate vocal arrangements. Free from the upper and lower register distortion, the vocals initailly startle the listener with their intimacy. In opening song, "Monday Monday", Mama Cass, Denny and Michelle weave their intricate operatic vocal lines around the John's plantive lead vocals. Denny and Cass' rendering of "I Call Your Name" will break your heart with the voluptous beauty of the vocals. Denny's gorgeous tenor and Cass' muli-octave wonder voice are so well blended that sometimes it's impossible to tell who's singing what.
It's hard to beleive that the Mamas and Papas existed only two and half years, because their musical legacy is so rich. One wonders what they could have accomplished over ten or fifteen years. Unfortunately the demands of musical stardom laid claim to the Mamas and Papas,prematurely. The years passed... Cass died, Denny retreated from from the spotlight, and Michelle's photogenic beauty lead to a respectable acting career. I hope John finally found some peace of mind in ensuing 30 years. Many point to John Phillips as an object lesson in the excesses of fame, but I'm greatful that for a fleeting moment, John was able to share his brillance with us.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2001
If you didn't know, this 2 CD release actually contains all 4 classic Mamas and Papas albums: IF YOU CAN BELIEVE YOUR EYES AND EARS, THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS, DELIVER and THE PAPAS & THE MAMAS, somehow excluding their less popular album, PEOPLE LIKE US, (an album that failed to reunite the group). However, all the greatest songs are here! If you enjoy The Mamas and the Papas and can't find the classic albums, I recommend you buying this CD set....and the price will save you some dough as well.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2009
First off, I do highly recommend this four-album compilation. If nothing else, it is a rare treat, indeed, to have all four Mamas & Papas albums on CD. When I popped the first disk in, I was in heaven. As others have stated in their reviews, someone took the time remix these tracks beautifully. The incredibly soaring vocals of the Mamas & Papas are crystal clear, perfectly balanced, and ROCKIN! This, sadly, has not always been the case - even on the original vinyl - where often John's and/or Michelle's voices were mixed into oblivion. Here, I literally shouted out loud, "YES!" when "Strange Young Girls" (from "Mamas & Papas" LP) came on! The vocals are amped up and every note comes through. The LP version had the vocals in such heavy reverb, the blend was muddy and lyrics virtually inaudible. The same with "String Man" from the "Deliver" LP - finally being able to HEAR Michelle's lead vocal was a real treat. So, after being ecstatic listening to the first three albums, the fourth landed with a THUD. Unfortunately, nothing has been done to improve the original miserable sound quality of "Papas & Mamas." The vocals have so much reverb, Michelle's and Cass's harmonies sound positively screechy, the purity of Denny's voice is washed-out, and John is completely inaudible (including his unintelligible lead on "Meditation Mama"). My heart sank. After so much obvious attention to vocal quality on the first three remixes, it seems they just gave up on the fourth. Such a shame, as there are a few truly great songs - just extremely poor production. STILL, as big a let-down as the fourth album is, I would purchase this CD compilation again. No price is too high to hear the first three albums in all their vocal glory. It is, and always will be, those soaring, intricate, perfect vocals that makes The Mamas and Papas a stand-out in a crowded field of great groups of the 60s.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2003
Upon listening to the full panoply of their music after years of neglect, I was astounded at how fresh The Mamas & The Papas music had remained. I can still remember seeing their farewell appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and not quite understanding what the big deal was. Now I understand! Nearly all of their music has aged well. In the brief 36 months in which they recorded, they produced an amazing catalog that matched vocals and instruments so well, that, indeed their voices were the instruments. While I have had my favorites tunes, I was surprised by how many songs I had never heard before from the first two albums that resonated so well, even in 2003.
My only quibbles are that three really pretty good tunes from their highly disrepected (deservedly so) final album "People Like Us" ("People Like Us," "Pacific Coast Highway," and "Snowqueen of Texas") were left out as well as no representation of the Mugwumps, to which Denny and Cass belonged -- which also produced beautiful blends of voice and instrument. The Mugwumps were a great precursor to the M&Ps. But that's a quibble. I doesn't diminish the pure pleasure you will experience listneing to this CD.
Strangely, shortly after John Philips died, one of the co-authors of a book I published in early 2004, "Dream It, Do It: Inspiring Stories of Dreams Come True," told me that she was stunned to learn that the fellow named "John" in her Alcoholics Anonymous group was indeed John Philips of The Mamas & The Papas. She learned it from the photos in the newspaper following his death. Not once, in all the years they were members of this AA group, did he tell anyone about his glorious musical past. Very interesting.... Says something about the guy (although I'm not quite sure what).