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An American Original,
This review is from: Johnny Rivers Anthology, 1964-1977 [2-CD Set] (Audio CD)
One of the first LPs I ever bought with my own money was a United Artists album entitled The Very Best Of Johnny Rivers, which I must have picked up around 1974 or so--and I have been a Rivers fan ever since. As other reviewers have noted, Johnny Rivers, though essentially a "cover artist," was much more than that--like many great interpreters (Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris come to mind), he had an ability to take most any song and make it his own, regardless of genre. Starting out as a Chuck Berry rock-and-roller with his "a-go-go" sound ("Memphis," "Maybelline") he made forays into folk-rock ("Where Have All The Flowers Gone?"), Motown ("The Tracks Of My Tears," "Baby, I Need Your Lovin'"), blues ("Parchman Farm," "Seventh Son"), R&B ("Sea Cruise," "Rockin' Pneumonia"), country (Buck Owens' "Under Your Spell Again"), pop ("By The Time I get To Phoenix") and even progressive rock ("Whiter Shade Of Pale," "Into The Mystic"). Whatever he did, though, it was undeniably American music, as befits a man who grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
While the hits are all here--and they're all great--some of the real gems in this collection are the ones you may never have heard: "It's Too Late," "These Are Not My People," "City Ways" and "Muddy River" are particular favorites of mine. Overall, an underappreciated artist and an American original. Essential listening.