All I Ever Need: The Kapp/MCA Anthology

by: Sonny & Cher

It's difficult to complain about the contents of this double-disc set, including 38 songs drawn from Sonny & Cher's second era of success (1971-1974 on Kapp Records), nicely remastered and assembled in impeccably logical fashion. The duo's (and Cher's solo) studio cuts make up the first disc, while the second is comprised of songs from the duo's two live recordings done two years apart in Las Vegas. It shows off the various facets of their appeal, even if what they were doing during the '70s was more mainstream music than anything near the cutting edge of even pop music -- no more Dylan songs, or any songs by would-be Dylan successors carried to the top of the charts, but lots of sales, and the live albums' sections not only include covers of the most obvious of the duo's early songs ("The Beat Goes On," "I Got You Babe," etc.) but also titles like "You Better Sit Down Kids," as well as their humor and marital sparring. Granted, a single collection of the dozen or so key tracks will probably be preferable to all but the biggest fans. What's more, even this set, which starts with the first failed Kapp singles ("Classified 1A," etc.) is missing five cuts available on the Cher greatest-hits package, as well as three Sonny Bono solo tracks, and the long version of "Mama Was a Rock 'n Roll Singer." ~ Bruce Eder

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