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If I Had Known: Essential Recordings Vol. 1, 1980-1996 [Limited Edition, Original recording remastered]

Greg Brown, Greg BrownAudio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Price: $22.09 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 17 Songs, 2003 $9.49  
Audio CD, Limited Edition, Original recording remastered, 2003 $22.09  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. If I Had Known 3:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Worrisome Years 4:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Laughing River 4:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Canned Goods 4:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Who Woulda Thunk It 4:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. The Train Carrying Jimmy Rodgers Home 3:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Ella Mae 4:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Our Little Town 3:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Good Morning Coffee 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Downtown 4:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. You Drive Me Crazy 5:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Spring Wind 4:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. The Poet Game 5:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Where Is Maria 5:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Boomtown 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Two Little Feet 4:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Driftless 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Frequently Bought Together

If I Had Known: Essential Recordings Vol. 1, 1980-1996 + Dream City - Essential Recordings Vol 2, 1997-2006 + Further in
Price for all three: $55.99

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 9, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Limited Edition, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Red House Records
  • ASIN: B0000AOV38
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,850 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description


"Brown's music is fixed in American's as if Johnny Cash sang Joni Mitchell songs, and meant them." -- The New Yorker Magazine

" of America's best writers." -- Relix Magazine

"Some of the most poignant and original songs of the past decade." -- Utne Reader

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Retrospective January 22, 2004
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
You can't call the songs "greatest hits;" Greg Brown isn't the kind of artist who has had or even wants pop hits. You can't call them his "best songs;" there's no agreement on what song is best, other than perhaps the last song you heard him perform. So I will settle for calling this a retrospective, a look backwards across twenty plus albums over twenty plus years. It's imprecise, but close.
It's equally hard to characterize Brown's song writing. There are elements of gospel - he's the son of a fundamentalist minister - and blues, a lot of traditional American folk music, but the mix is peculiarly Brown's own. The style has evolved over the years, as this album demonstrates. What's consistent is the use of specific images, sometimes apparently unrelated images, to make broader, allusive messages. His music is deceptively simple, even catchy, but it never leaves you feeling manipulated.
His musicianship is fine, but there are lots of fine musicians. What sets Greg Brown apart as a performer is his voice, which ranges from a baritone to a gravelly bass. There are very few folk artists who can use their voice as the bass line in their songs. His voice is remarkable, and he uses it intelligently, adding layers of meaning to songs.
If you are new to Greg Brown, this is a terrific introduction. If you are already a fan, you may still want this album: some of the older songs benefit greatly from remastering, and sound much better here than they do on their original albums.
Strongly recommended.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music and fascinating DVD October 19, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Living as I do in the UK, I've never had the chance to see Greg Brown 'live', so I was keen to get this DVD and CD combination. The DVD is very interesting. Greg, who comes across as very warm and intelligent, is interviewed throughout, and there are 'live' performances and nice scenes with Greg's folks back in his home town of Hacklebarney. You really get a feel for where 'Greg Brown' came from, and where he still is in a way, something that must be the key to his success and longevity as an artist. He's unspoiled.

The CD is crammed full of some of Greg's greatest songs from the past few years. They need a bit of listening to before you realise just how good they are, but instantly obvious is Greg's unique style and the humour in his unique voice. What's interesting, seeing the background in the DVD, is how he has kept to his roots while at the same time creating music that's universal and whose themes go beyond the 'down home'. This is really well worth getting.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bookend for Iowa Mood Music May 19, 2004
Format:Audio CD
To those of you not in the know (and there are far more than there should be), roots legend Greg Brown popped out of the Iowa cornfields in the early eighties. Raised on roots music, Brown cut his teeth on the ecclectic scenes of Greenwich Village and Minneapolis before releasing a remarkable string of independent albums that continues, unbroken, to this day.
"If I Had Known" is not a summary of Brown's career. Indeed, it neglects his past six years of recording which were easily as fruitful as any other such period of his career. Instead,it is an attempt to bring the listener up to speed by exposing, as close as is possible, the incredibly diverse songwriting that Brown has contributed over the years.
From quirky bohemian rave-ups (Good Morning Coffee) to stark, Sprinsteenesque political-ballads (Our Little Town), "If I Had Known" is a primer on the Brown catalogue. But what this album does so nicely is what most greatest hits packages fail to do. It emphasizes what really matters in Brown's music: Love, humanity, family and a connection to "home"- whatever that means to you.
Between the cracks are songs of enormous heart and nostalgia "The Poet Game", "Hey Baby Hey," "Worrisome Years," and one of the best love songs of the last fifteen years "Spring Wind," to name a few.
This album is a rare treat: an overview of a widely overlooked and diverse artist to say the least, but more importantly, a collection of songs that will become like old friends: inspiring and affecting you in a way that will be undeniably your own.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greg Brown - If I Had Known (CD & DVD Combo) July 30, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Simple, honest music. This is a perfect CD/DVD to purchase to get to know Greg Brown and his music. The CD provides a nice variety of songs taken from some of his numerous albums. The DVD gives great background of his life, including interviews with friends and family members. The DVD also has some nice concert footage and reveals the nature of the man and his earthy, somewhat mischeivous background and outlook on life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars new to Greg June 4, 2004
Format:Audio CD
An amazing girl I know recently played me the live version of "Spring Wind" and it, well... it blew me away. I had to hear more of this incredible artist. I enjoy listening to many other singer/songwriters: Bruce Cockburn, John Hiatt, Leonard Cohen, et al, but had never even heard of Greg Brown. His lyrics are soulfull and entertaining and his voice is deep and warm. I am also quite the audiophile and I'm *very* impressed with the recordings on this disc. Greg's voice is right there on center stage and the instrumentation and imaging are spot on; excellent job of remastering on this one. I highly recommend this CD to fans of the previous artists I mentioned and specifically to audiophiles who just like to sit and listen to beautifully recorded music. I haven't watched the DVD yet, but it's a great bonus to an already great CD!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Intro to An Artist
This is quintessential classic Greg Brown. If you are looking to an introduction to this artist this album is perfect. Read more
Published 6 months ago by beb
5.0 out of 5 stars Double fantasy
If you want the quintessential Greg Brown, this is the CD for you. If you want to see and hear Greg and get to know who this songbird is on DVD, well that's included too. Read more
Published 9 months ago by G. Burke
5.0 out of 5 stars Same music...great show!!!!!!!!!!!
It does not come any better than this!!!!!!!!!!! I once again found myself listening to Greg Brown over and over!!!!! Really good stuff and all on one CD. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Grandpa Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Artist with Talent
Great price and awesome music. Love the stories told through the songs and the view if life portrayed. A very talented artist.
Published 13 months ago by April Rockwell-Doughty
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely essential
I had owned this collection for some time and purchased it as a gift. The recipient was thrilled. It truly covers the indicated stretch of Greg Brown's long career and it's fun to... Read more
Published on February 19, 2010 by Barbara
5.0 out of 5 stars If I Had Known, Indeed
The first two paragraphs have been used in other reviews of folk musician/singer/songwriter Greg Brown's work. Read more
Published on October 20, 2009 by Alfred Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars He's the best
Greg takes you back to simplier times and helps you appreciate what you know or should know.

The best.
Published on January 12, 2007 by N. Kilker
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST SEE for Greg Brown Fans!
I have several of Greg Brown's CD's, and I love every one of them. The thing that sets this one apart from the others is the DVD that accompanies it. Read more
Published on June 17, 2006 by Sister Sam
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