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Various Artists

Legends: Crank It Up (Limited Edition Hybrid SACD version)

Review by Gary Hill

Originally released as a Time Life Series installment, this album features a lot of songs most people will know. This particular edition is a remastered audiophile recording that’s a limited edition numbered disc. It’s a safe bet that most people will be familiar with everything here. The set sounds great, though. I like the way they used the full versions of songs, rather than going for the shortened ones. That’s most notable on the opener and the closer. This is really a great collection of classic rock songs in a nice edition.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? – Chicago

I don’t remember the extended jazz piano introduction to this thing. After that, though, they launch out into the familiar jazz rock tune that’s such a classic.

Listen to the Music - The Doobie Brothers
How can anyone not like the Doobie Brothers? I mean, with those guitar riffs and killer harmonies laced around great hooks, it’s just awesome melodic rock. This song is no exception. It’s a classic.
Good Lovin - The Rascals

This one feels a bit more dated than some of the other stuff here does. That said, it’s still got a catchy song structure and it works well. It’s just not one of the highlights.

Tonight's the Night - Rod Stewart
There’s kind of a bluesy, soulful vibe to this mellow Rod Stewart classic. The saxophone is a nice touch.
Running on Empty - Jackson Browne
This is really quintessential singer songwriter based classic rock. It has a lot of energy and some great melodies. It’s classic stuff that still holds up very well.
In the Air Tonight - Phil Collins
It’s a safe bet that pretty much everyone on the planet has heard this moody piece. It’s mellow and sparse, and very cool. I’ve always loved this track. I know there are a lot of people who think it’s overplayed and over-rated, but I’d say that it holds up. I still think it’s a great piece of music.
Time of the Season - The Zombies
I’ve always loved this tune. It just sort oozes cool. It doesn’t really sound dated to me. It’s just a great song that is still vital. I love the keyboard solo segments.
How Long – Ace
This song is set in the smooth jazz influenced soft rock style that was so popular in the 1970s. It wouldn’t have been a stretch to imagine this coming from someone like 10cc. It’s always been a classic tune and it holds up really well to this day. I love the guitar solo and the vocal arrangement the best, but the bass groove is great, too.
Dixie Chicken - Little Feat
There is some great funk on this. The guitar sound is classic. It’s just a fun Southern rock styled groove. It’s definitely a winner and it still holds up well.
Truckin - Grateful Dead
A classic tune from the Grateful Dead, I’ve always loved this one. It has such a cool guitar sound and the vocal lines are great. This one holds up very well.
Love the One You're With - Stephen Stills
A cool mellow rock number, this one still holds up relatively well. The vocal harmonies and the whole sound seems like it would have been at home on one of the Crosby Stills and Nash albums.
For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
Although this is essentially a hippie song, it still holds up reasonably well. I think that’s because the hooks are catchy and the harmonies are classic. It’s a great tune.
Sister Golden Hair – America
One of the more rocking tunes in America’s bag of tricks, this tune is one that got a lot of airplay. It’s also a particularly potent tune.
Back on the Chain Gang - The Pretenders
I’ve never been a huge fan of the Pretenders. This song, though, has always reminded me a bit of the Kinks for some reason. It’s not bad, but not one of my favorites here.
Feels Like the First Time – Foreigner
Say what you will about Foreigner, but their first few albums were classic. I’ve always loved this melodic rocker. It’s just such a great tune. It still holds up well, as far as I’m concerned.
Daniel - Elton John
I’ve always been a big fan of Elton John, so it’s a safe bet that I love this song. The easy going, folk rock meets Island vibe here is great. The vocal performance is classy and the tune is just a great one that holds up very well. It’s one of my favorites on this set.
Nights in White Satin - The Moody Blues
This track is a masterpiece. It’s not often that the best known piece of music from an artist is also an extremely high quality piece that might well be the best they’ve ever done. This is one such case. The powered up anthemic ballad motif certainly influenced generations to come. It is a near perfect merging of symphonic elements and synthesizer driven progressive rock. It seems likely that anyone reading this has heard the song. Do me a favor. Give it a new listening if you haven’t heard it in a while. You’ll be astonished just how good this is – and just how well it holds up even today.
 
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