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Johnny Rivers Anthology, 1964-1977 [2-CD Set]

4.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 26, 1991
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This is a 2 CD set with each disc in a single jewel case with art work.

In his '60s heyday, there was never any doubt that Johnny Rivers (nee Ramistella) was an energetic performer with a good ear for hit material. In retrospect, though, Rivers's numerous AM radio hits boasted an emotional honesty that belied his commercial image. That point is made repeatedly on this 2 CD, 36-song set, which contains all of his hits and demonstrates the singer-guitarist's ease with a variety of styles, from spare '50s-style rock & roll("Memphis," "Mountain of Love"), bluesy party rock ("Secret Agent Man," "The Seventh Son"), bittersweet balladry ("Poor Side of Town," "The Tracks of My Tears"), gentle folk-rock ("Summer Rain," "Into the Mystic"), and smooth middle-of-the-road pop ("Swayin' to the Music"). --Scott Schinder

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Memphis
  2. Maybelline
  3. Mountain Of Love
  4. Midnight Special
  5. Cupid
  6. Seventh Son
  7. Parchman Farm
  8. Where Have All The Flowers Gone?
  9. Under Your Spell Again
  10. Secret Agent Man
  11. (I Washed My Hands In) Muddy Water
  12. Poor Side Of Town
  13. By The Time I Get To Phoenix
  14. Do You Want To Dance?
  15. Baby I Need Your Lovin'
  16. Tracks Of My Tears
  17. Do What You Gotta' Do
  18. Tunesmith
  19. It's Too Late

Disc: 2

  1. Summer Rain
  2. Look To Your Soul
  3. Brother, Where Are You
  4. Going Back To Big Sur
  5. Whiter Shade Of Pale
  6. These Are Not My People
  7. City Ways
  8. You Better Move On
  9. Muddy River
  10. Into The Mystic
  11. Fire And Rain
  12. Sea Cruise
  13. Rockin' Pneumonia - Boogie Woogie Flu
  14. Blue Suede Shoes
  15. Help Me Rhonda
  16. Outside Help
  17. Swayin' To The Music (Slow Dancin')

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 26, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B0000032OC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,193 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Vrana HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Known more as as interpreter of other artists' songs, JohnnyRivers placed 17 songs in the Top 40 over the 13-year span covered onthis collection. His first two singles (recorded live at LA's Whiskey A Go Go) were covers of Chuck Berry's "Memphis" and "Maybelline." His next single was a cover of Harold Dorman's "Mountain of Love," which Rivers took to No. 9. His string of Sixties hits included "Seventh Son," "Secret Agent Man," "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" and The Tracks of My Tears." Surprisingly, his biggest hit of the Sixties--and his only No. 1--was the only single he had a hand in writing, the lovely "Poor Side of Town." In addition to having a knack for selecting excellent material, Rivers used ace musicians in the studio--frequently using Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel and James Burton. After 1967's "Summer Rain," Rivers' singles couldn't crack the Top 40 until 1972's "Rockin' Pneumonia - Boogie Woogie Flu." The song's rocking arrangement was reminiscent of his earlier Sixties singles and it became the biggest single of his career, selling over a million copies. He was not as successful with his next two covers--Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" and the Beach Boys' "Help Me Rhonda." Even with Brian Wilson on board to provide harmonies, the song stalled at No. 22. in 1975. Just when critics (and most fans) were ready to write him off again, Rivers surprised everyone with his second million-seller, "Swayin' to the Music (Slow Dancin')" in 1977. Two decades later, it's unlikely that Rivers will make a third comeback, but this is an excellent two-disc overview of his classic songs, minor hits and key album tracks. As usual, the folks at Rhino have put together an informative booklet, excellent sound, and a generous sampling of Rivers' peak years. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED END
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By A Customer on December 9, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I loved this CD. Everyone has a favorite Johnny Rivers song. Problem is that, for most people, their particular recollection of one song often ignores the others. For example, when I think Johnny Rivers, I think Secret Agent Man, someone else might think Summer Rain, another might say, Seventh Son, and another sings Mountain of Love, others Midnight Special or Poor Side of Town.
Well they are all his and they are all on this great sounding anthology. Also included are the many covers Rivers has recorded over the years, including Sea Cruise, Do You Want to Dance?, and Sam Cooke's classic, Cupid. And his greatest cover of all, Chuck Berry's, Memphis. And for those musicians out there, Rivers' steel guitar remains his signature on every cut. Pop, rock, blues or country music fan, you'll enjoy this CD; it really does justice to a artist most people can't quite place until they hear the songs and then they become amazed that all those fondly remembered records actually came from the same unassuming guy.
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By A Customer on January 14, 2003
Format: 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.
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Format: Audio CD
One reviewer laments the fact that this 2-CD anthology is no longer available. Perhaps one reason is that Rhino is busy making corrections. First of all, rather than the separate booklet which usually accompanies such box sets, Rhino chose to insert liner notes with each disc. The only problem is, they put the SAME liner notes in both discs.

What is included [ten pages] is interesting, but whereas it says "continued in booklet for disc # 2" we unfortunately get those same disc 1 notes repeated. So, not only do I not know who wrote them, I have no idea if they ever intended to include a discography. I also can't say if this was a general problem or confined only to my set.

As for the contents, of the 29 selections he put onto the Billboard Hot 100 from 1964 to 1978 [21 for the Imperial label, four for United Artists, one for Soul City/Epic, one for Soul City, and two for Big Tree] they include all but these five: Right Relations [# 61 for Imperial in December 1968]; One Woman [# 89 for Imperial in November 1969]; Think His Name [# 65 in September 1971 with The Guru Ram Das Ashram Singers for United Artists]; Ashes And Sand [# 96 in February 1977 for Soul City], and his last hit, Curious Mind (Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um) which reached # 4 Adult Contemporary (AC)/# 41 Billboard Pop Hot 100 early in 1978 for Big Tree and with Ashes And Sand as the B-side [different version?].

Instead they give us two B-sides [Going Back To Big Sur, the flip of These Are Not My People, and Outside Help, the flip of Ashes And Sand], as well as a number of selections [tracks 7, 13, 14, 17 to 19 on disc 1, and tracks 3, 5, 7 and 8 on disc 2] which were either failed singles or taken from some of his albums. Unfortunately, without a discography we have no way of knowing.

All in all, this appears to be one of Rhino's weaker efforts and one can only hope that its current unavailability is due to its being revised to correct the errors and omissions.
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