"I had this on vinyl back when it was released as a double-album in the 1970s, and was glad to see it made available on CD.Quicksilver Messenger Service, as you may or may not know, was one of the many bands that originated in and around the San Francisco area in the middle to late 1960s. Though not as well known nor as successful as some of the others would go on to be (Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, The Steve Miller Band), Quicksilver established itself as a band with first-rate musicianship, even though the band's lineup would regularly change. (Original guitarist John Cippolina would later go on to establish Copperhead; Gary Duncan was the other guitarist and occasional vocalist; bassist/vocalist David Freiberg would end up playing in the Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship band; pianist Nicky Hopkins would come for a while but then leave, to be replaced by Mark Naftalin from the Butterfield Blues Band; vocalist Dino Valenti, although technically slated to be part of the band from the beginning, didn't actually join the group until it had been around for four or five years due to his incarceration on drug possession and his vocals are reminiscent of Marty Balin from Jefferson Starship.)Despite the changing lineups, the band recorded a number of outstanding songs as collected on this CD. The CD opens up with their cover of Hamilton Camp's "Pride of Man", followed up by "Dino's Song" (written by the aforementioned Dino Valenti, who was by the time this was recorded spending time in jail), and then the masterful 12-minute "The Fool". Cippolina's trembling electric guitar work stands out on these, particularly the mostly instrumental "The Fool" (a few verses are sung in its later minutes).The next song "Bears" is a light-hearted, short song; a cover of "Mona" (a bluesy, but somewhat forgettable song, previously recorded by Bo Diddley) and "Edward the Mad Shirt Grinder" (an instrumental piece written by Nicky Hopkins) follow it. "Three or Four Feet from Home," written by Cippolina, sounds like something The Grateful Dead might have done. Following it are a couple of songs for which Dino Valenti finally joined the group and sang -- "Fresh Air" (which has two instrumental breaks, one featuring guitar work and the other piano) and "Just for Love". Both songs marked somewhat of a turning point, as the band turned away from longer, less commercial songs to more radio-friendly fare. "Spindrifter," another Nicky Hopkins piece, is an instrumental piano-laden song with an exquisite melody. "Local Color" is an instrumental, slide-guitar, bluesy piece written by Cippolina; it is the last song on this collection on which he plays. "What About Me" introduced Mark Naftalin on piano to the band (replacing Nicky Hopkins) and while it is a pretty much standard protest type of song from 1970, the following Dino Valenti-penned "Don't Cry My Lady Love" is a terrific romantic pop ballad with outstanding piano work from Mr. Naftalin. "Hope," a pretty good electric lead guitar-driven piece, the acoustic guitar and piano "Fire Brothers," and "I Found Love" close out the CD. For "Fire Brothers" and "I Found Love," Greg Duncan, who at this time was the only original member from the band still around, provides the vocals.Overall the CD earns 5 stars on the strength of some outstanding arrangements and musicianship, even though a few songs are rather forgettable themselves. This CD is an excellent introduction to and overview of Quicksilver in its most productive and creative phase (1967 - 1971); although the band would continue (again with lineup changes) for some additional years, none of the later output holds up to what is on this CD. If you like the San Francisco style of music, with its extended musical interplays and occasional psychedelic excursions, this CD won't disappoint."
Buy this for Spindrifter
Gordon Fuller | Novi, MI USA | 01/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This anthology, rather than Sons of Mercury, is the one to purchase if you're new to QMS. I won't dispute with some reviewers who prefer the live energy of Happy Trails for the original albums, but Anthology delivers all of the top songs for QMS including Spindrifter, a solo piano piece that showed why both the Who and the Stones wanted his talents. This version of Mona is also better than the one on Sons of Mercury, which is cut short for some awful reason. QMS was quirky, talented, and a unique but accessible sound in an era of trippy San Francisco bands. This anthology gives you the absolute best of their studio music."
Quicksilver Messenger Service Anthology
Arnold Mendoza | Houston, TX United States | 09/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A "must have" for any serious 60's aficionado. Really good undiscovered tracks on this CD include "Just for Love", and "Don't Cry my Lady Love". Best Quicksilver compilation available."
rash67 | USA | 09/05/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Forget this Capital slapdash collection and buy the much better Rhino remastering with much better selection: "Sons of Mercury". See my review there.
Poor selection here, also, not enough wonderful Cippolina, too much Valenti.
murky, compressed, midrangy"
Quicksilver - gone but not forgotten
D. B. Laska | Hazlet, NJ United States | 02/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Anthology gives us a look at an excellent but mostly overlooked group from the late 60's into the 70's. The vast majority of the songs are excellent, especially "Fresh Air" and "What about Me", which are timeless classics. "