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More Than a 'Forrest Gump' Sountrack
on June 1, 2006
Three Dog Night was the most successful singles band of the seventies. This collection is a valuable and obvious choice for fans and the uninitiated. The group may not have endured as well as Fleetwood Mac or the Eagles, but their following is not a fleeting one. Their biggest hits still have an instant appeal. Many of them were consciousness raising, including "Family of Man," "Black and White," and "Out in the Country". Each song could be parodied, but they were also eloquent and engaging enough to matter. They could also be considered maudlin with their love songs, especially "Old Fashioned Love Song," "Easy to Be Hard," and "One," making their suitability a matter of taste. While I recommend all of them, many understandably may not. However, some of the other songs provide greater substance and variety. "Celebrate" is a forgotten gem, and "Eli's Coming" showcases them the masters of the keyboard with an (oddly) entertaining and eerie song. Soul is done reasonably well with "Sure as I'm Sitting Here," "Try a Little Tenderness," and "Mama Told Me Not to Come". The latter is a tongue-in-cheek anti-drug song, written by songwriting humorist, Randy Newman. (A memoir reveals the lead singer as a drug semi-casualty.) Besides the perennial "Joy to the World," they lighten up considerably on "Shambala" and "The Show Must Go On". There are a few weak moments in the collection, but it is a better bet than any of their original albums (unless you are a rabid fan). Song for song, the variety, energy, and spirit make 'The Best of Three Dog Night' a fine collectible for seventies' afficionados.