"It's been almost thirty years since their first greatest hits album THE BEST OF FRIENDS was released, and Columbia/Legacy still can't get it right! The earlier hits package (which I reviewed five years ago) had only ten tracks from arguably the most popular duo of the early Seventies. This new album solves that problem by expanding the collection to 18 tracks and includes the unedited version of "Angry Eyes." But of the duo's three Top 40 hits, only "Your Mama Don't Dance" is included. How could you leave off "My Music" (No. 16) and "Thinking of You" (No. 18) and still title this album THE BEST?
It's also worth noting that there are no songs from their final two albums: 1975's oldies album SO FINE and 1976's NATIVE SONS. Fully two-thirds of this compilation are from their first two albums with six songs each from 1972's SITTIN' IN and the follow-up LOGGINS AND MESSINA. Four songs are taken from 1973's FULL SAIL and two from 1974's MOTHER LODE.
It's encouraging to see a resurgence of interest in the music of Loggins and Messina (and there is a 40-date reunion tour scheduled to start in late June), but's disappointing to see some of the gaping holes that this set has. It really needed to be a two-disc collection to do the job right. [Another option is to simply purchase the box set collection of their first three albums.] RECOMMENDED"
Personal Favorites From Loggins & Messina
Dennis Whelan | Trenton, NJ USA | 07/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can see the points made in the other reviews about the missing hits, the lack of tunes from So Fine and Native Sons and the fact that it could have easily been a 2 disc set.
These are all good points except for one small thing- the 18 tracks on this disc were hand picked by Jim Messina and Kenny Loggins. They felt this was the best representation of their music they could put on one disc. I don't totally agree either- I made my own 2 disc Best of years ago.
The other thing to keep in mind here- this is the best sounding versions of these tunes to make it to CD. They are the original mixes uncut and unchanged by others after Jim & the other original producers got done with them.
Jim wne tinto the studio with the original master tapes from the 70's a nd remastered all the tracks here digitally. He didn't cut them. he didn't remix them he just remastered the original album cuts.
So if you're looking for a great sounding version of some of the best L&M tunes on CD get this disc.
Dennis Trenton, NJ"
Another Sony Effort Falls Short
John R. Jones Jr. | United States | 06/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Why four stars for such a talented duo? It's not the music itself, which is really good stuff, and it's not the production, which is pretty much flawless. It's the lack of all the other worthy songs that should have been included, especially on a release titled "The Best" - this should have had at least twice the number of songs it contains. In my opinion, Sony just can't seem to get it right when doing compilations - the focus invaribly stays on the monetary, not the musical, and as a consequence, consumers of good music are left wanting. Casual fans of Loggins and Messina may be satisfied that, at long last, there is something available other than the very skimpy 10 cut "Best Of Friends", but for those who really appreciate the range of this underated pair, this release will probably disappoint because it could have been so much better. Here's hoping that Sony plans for a double disc "Essential Loggins and Messina" that will fill in all the considerable holes that this collection has, and I pray that it doesn't take as long to hit the streets as "Sittin' In Again" did."
Rhino would have perfected this compilation
James Cantrell | Tennessee | 06/19/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jim Messina began his career sitting in with Buffalo Springfield. Then he stayed with Richie Furey to found Poco and guide it to become a major player in the emerging Country Rock movement that, expecially when it is paired with Southern Rock, made the 1970s a great decade for music fans. The Country Rock of that era was more truly Country than most of the major stars of Nashville Country today, and it could rock with the best of 'em.
Jim Messina made a third major mark on the music by sitting in with and mentoring Kenny Loggins. They formed a talented pair, spurring one another. Though Loggins and Messina never dominated the charts, they were fixtures on the early and mid-'70s FM scene, which provided the era's best radio as it focused on originality and quality and all but ignored sales of singles.
The Best of Friends, the duo's 1976 'best of' album, contained only ten tracks, and one of them, 'Angry Eyes,' was presented in its half-length single version. I bought the vinyl in about 1979 because at the time I did not have the money to purchase more than one L&M album (though I always liked the duo, record money had to be allocated on merit, and Jackson Browne, the Kinks, Van Morrison, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan all came before L&M, and many others I saw as equal to the duo had to be represented as well). From the first time I played it, I was happy to have the best known songs on one album, but I also was bothered that the album did not include another two cuts (12 songs was about as long an album as we could expect then). I particularly wanted 'Listen to a Country Song' to be includued in the list of songs that current and future DJs would use as the basis from which to select potential Loggins&Messina oldies for radio airing.
This new Best Of album includes 'Listen to a Country Song' and the full version of 'Angry Eyes' among its 18 selections. I find no great fault with any song that is included, but I am bothered that 3 songs on the Best of Friends LP ('Peace of Mind,' 'My Music,' and 'Thinking of You') are missing here. That two of them were among the duo's 3 best selling singles is worth noting, but because many hit singles are junk, sales alone should not determine inclusion on a Best Of album. 'Thinking of You' is a beautiful song, one that is perfect for two men with acoustic guitars to play to an intimate crowd. It should be on any list of the 12 best Loggins&Messina songs. 'My Music' is simply a rousing jaunt, one that shows the fun-loving side of the duo almost as much 'Your Mama Don't Dance.' Messina wrote 'Peace of Mind' while still in Poco, and it is thus a concrete linking of Loggins&Messina with the beginnings of Country Rock in the 1960s.
Surely this disc could have included these 3 songs without cutting any of the 18 it features. Without them, I cannot rate it more than a 4."
Wher are SO FINE and FINALE
William J. O'rourke | Hermon, ME United States | 12/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Have loved L&M forever, but would like it if the record label would stop recycling what can be purchased and produce the title that we only have on warped vinyl. Would love to hear SO Fine and Finale on cd digital quality. Both are in my opinion hidden and "buried" gems or this band's body of work"