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on June 23, 1999
Being a Starbuck fan from the 70's I was very excited to learn about the release of "Backtracks". I bought the CD and was very disappointed. As one might expect from a 70's vintage analog master the quality is poor compared with today's digital technologies. However, the disappointment is not with the analog master but the fact that the tracks have been altered from the original. Starbuck's major hits "Moonlight Feels Right" and "Everybody be Dancin" resemble the original in melody only. For some unknown reason this CD contains previously unreleased tracks which probably should have remained unreleased.
I can only hope that someday the original albums are released, unaltered, in CD format. "Backtracks" must certainly be an embarrassment to everyone involved in its production. If your a Starbuck fan, don't waste your money on this "dog"
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on May 6, 2011
Bought this CD for Moonlight Feels Right, and neither one listed on CD sounds like the oldie but goodie. The rest seems to be okay, but had I known, I would not have wasted my money.
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on February 5, 2002
If you're a Starbuck fan this is NOT the CD you wish to start with. That would be "Moonlight Feels Right" which has the original LP (including the title hit) plus five bonus tracks from the follow up "Rock and Roll Rocket".
That said this collection does serve a useful purpose. It appears that "Moonlight" may be the only "official" release to make it to CD, so "Backtracks" may be the only way to get some of the "R&R Rocket" tracks left off "Moonlight" including "Don't You Know How to Love a Lady", "Benny Bought the Big One", and "Rock and Roll Rocket". Also "One of these Mornings" is an extended version of the "Little Bird reprise" which makes it an interesting item for those who thought this nice little number was too short on the original. Please note though, that all the tracks that eventually made it to "official" Starbuck LPs appear to be presented in demo versions here. Gone are the strings, much of the guitars, and you get lots of programmed drums. Blackman's vocals are amazingly close to the complete versions.
Backtracks also contains one of Starbuck's most enjoyable numbers "It Feels Good" from the United Artist release "Searching For a Thrill". "It Feels Good" features a wonderful guitar solo and upbeat rythm and measures up to anything from their catalog.
That said don't buy Backtracks and think that is all you'll need - the versions of hits "Moonlight" and "Everybody Be Dancin" are also alternate/demo takes which rumor has it are unofficial demos that should never have been released. Still some of the other material (from Blackman's 2nd group "Korona") is interesting and if you already have "Moonlight" on CD then this should provide some interesting if at times frustrating listening.
Shame on Renaissance Records for not stating anywhere in the liner notes that these are not the previously released versions.
These "works in progress"? For Starbuck completests only.
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on May 24, 1999
When I heard that the 70s group Starbuck was finally finding its way onto CD I was elated. Finally Bruce Blackman and co's material would get the digital treatment. Well this release is a is nothing more than a tease. The CD contains 20 tracks - eleven of them pulled from the three official releases. The other nine tracks are unknown to me and sound like items Mr. Blackman may have thrown together in his garage with some synths and drum machines. Of the previously released items Mr. Blackman has added some new keyboards into the recordings and mixed the original rythm tracks way down. The new keyboard on the group's mega-hit "Moonlight Feels Right" is very annoying and really ruins the entire track. The same is done with the groups other radio hit "Everybody Be Dancin'". Whatever could have possessed Mr. Blackman to remix these classic tunes is beyond me. However, I believe the result will be a big disappointment to fans who have been waiting for Starbuck to appear in the digital format and I doubt it will win any new fans.
Bruce should do the decent thing. . . pull this disc from production and work on getting the original three albums reissued. . .or at least get out a real collection with more album tracks in their original format.
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on June 12, 1999
After first hearing this cd it was not really what I was expecting. I could not figure out why the versions of songs were so different from originals and why were they so inferior in quality. One explanation might be that the master tapes (assuming Mr. Blackman has them available and has rights to use them) were in bad shape due tape shedding syndrome as it is case with many 70's tapes. I hope I am wrong and someday we have a chance to hear originals in pristine condition. However, this collection is named "Backtracks", not "The best of" and this surely gives us hardcore fans many interesting moments with never-heard-before songs. The more I listen to this cd the more I like it. I am glad that I have the original albums dehissed and declicked in CDR and "Backtracks" makes my Starbuck collection complete. "Backtracks" shows what a great singer and unique songwriter Bruce Blackman is. Troubadour par excellence.
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on July 5, 2002
I am a musician in the Atlanta area. In the 70s, these guys were actually the "hot dogs" around town.They were really very good. As a matter of fact, several of the musicians who were in this band are still performing around Atlanta. Although I was into Southern Rock in those days,I loved this song. I still perform around the Southeast, and "Moonlight Feels Right" is one of the songs we play through our sound system during our breaks. I don't know what the album sounds like, but the single of "Moonlight" is a great pop hit.I am glad it still sells.
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on November 23, 2001
i agree with most of the people that they should wait for the rerelease of "moonlight feels right". i liked "moonlight feels right" on this album. i feel both versions have something to offer to all listners. both versions seem to have a different sound . after listening to both, i liked both equally. for all of you fans that were growing up in the '70's, i suggest waiting until blakburn gets done with remastering the origials that were on "moonlight feels right". i'm a young fan. i was pretty young when "moonlight feels right" was released. but, i will tell you this, i waited hours upon hours for the radio to play "moonlight feels right". i really love this song very much. In fact, i like the version that is on the backtracks as well. it is all in a matter of taste.
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on May 12, 2000
I was looking forward to this release, until I realized it was a collection of alternate mixes and demos. I contacted Renaissance about it and they explained the trouble of finding the original masters. Starbuck has such a unique sound, certainly worthy of reissues. Bruce Blackman has a wonderful wry twist in his songwriting, and a killer vocal delivery. It is a "hip-jive" style that is tongue-in-cheek, while being actually hip, as well. Great playing and arrangements, especially the vibe and marimba textures. "Backtracks" simply acts as a consolation prize, as we wait in the wings for the real thing. It is the old "better-than-nothing" scenario. Still, I prefer to make a mini-disc of the two lps I have (need the third, and Korona), and dream.Someday...
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on June 27, 2002
The other reviews tell a lot of the story -
the hits from the first 1976 album are NOT the original
recordings and appear to be demos, some very cheesy.
Even "It Feels Good", the great single from their 3rd album
seems to be the original recording, but in greatly remixed
form, and the results are not an improvement. However, there's
a lot of rare tracks here for Bruce Blackman fans, although the Korona hit "Let Me Be" is not included. The artwork and liner notes are really excellent. (The Moonlight Feels Right CD with the original 1976 LP and 5 bonus tracks from the 1977 LP has great sound and packaging, and is the original recordings.)
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on August 28, 2000
The original "Moonlight Feels Right" album is about to be reissued as a CD, with a couple of bonus tracks including "Everybody Be Dancin'" which was not included in the original 33 1/3 album. If you are a Starbuck fan from the 70s, this "Backtracks" is a disappointment, because all of the songs, including "Moonlight..." and "Everybody..." are alternate rerecordings, not the original. Just wait for a while and get the original "Moonlight..." CD.
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