Time Warp: The Very Best of Ozark Mountain Daredevils

by: Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Although it omits three songs from the far less comprehensive (and deleted) 1983 12-track Best Of, and doesn't include any live or post-A&M music, this 2000 release stands as the final word on the Ozark Mountain Daredevils' career. Cherry-picking 21 tunes from their five studio album stint circa 1974-1978 -- with the lion's share coming from their first three albums and only three selections from the final two -- this is pretty much all you'll need from the under-recognized band that worked in the '70s country-rock shadows of Poco and Firefall, but weren't as dependable or pop savvy as either. In fact, their biggest hit, the Hall & Oates, blue-eyed soul-styled "Jackie Blue," was so atypical of the band's characteristically down-home approach that it ultimately may have been more damaging to their career than if they had clicked with a song more representative of their crisp, rural country pop/rock. As enjoyable and pleasantly organic as they were, the group lacked a distinctive vocalist, direction, and most importantly great songs. This collection focuses on their less commercially rocking, more rootsy side, and as such it's a consistently listenable, predominantly chronological compilation that is all any but the most die-hard fan will ever need. An extensive essay (including quotes from bandmembers) and rare photos in the disc's 16-page booklet sweeten the pot and make this as definitive an overview from a talented also-ran outfit as necessary. Like its closing title track, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils lived in a stylistic time warp, comfortable within its own limitations and unwilling -- but not unable -- to break free of them. ~ Hal Horowitz

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