Greatest Hits [Expanded Edition]

by: Little River Band

A group like Little River Band is the epitome of a fine singles act. The band had two gold and two platinum albums in its late-'70s, early-'80s prime, but it's no surprise that its biggest seller is 1982's double-platinum Greatest Hits. In 2000, a 24-bit digitally remastered expanded edition was released and it's simply excellent. It adds six songs to the original's dozen, and these include the rest of LRB's charted singles. The 2000 version polishes the Australian band's smooth, irresistibly catchy brand of pop/rock. The sound quality is crisp and clean. All the instruments jump out. LRB -- which featured an unusual-for-pop three-guitar lineup -- was kind of faceless, so its many personnel changes didn't necessarily alienate fans. Glenn Shorrock sang most of the signature hits like "Lonesome Loser," "Reminiscing," "Cool Change," "Help Is on Its Way," "Take It Easy on Me," "Man on Your Mind," and "Happy Anniversary." Bassist Wayne Nelson sang "The Night Owls," one of LRB's most rock-oriented numbers. All the previously mentioned songs are included, of course, but the newly added ones help provide a clearer picture of the band's career. The most notable were LRB's last two Top 40 hits, "We Two" and the funky, horns-based "You're Driving Me Out of My Mind," both sung by Shorrock's replacement, John Farnham. Another Farnham track, "Playing to Win," is a surprising burst of hard rock with hyperactive synthesizer. The Shorrock-era extras are "I'll Always Call Your Name" and "It's Not a Wonder." The latter in particular is a welcome addition. 2000's Greatest Hits, which features a bare-bones essay by Simon Glickman, unquestionably supersedes its predecessor. It's a mid-line-priced gem for casual fans. Collectors should note that early copies of Greatest Hits mistakenly included alternate versions of some hits. ~ Bret Adams

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