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Little River Band: The Big Box (6 Disc Box Set)

Oh, this brings back memories. The Little River Band formed way back in 1975 in Melbourne, Australia and released their self-titled debut that same year. A string of hits soon followed as the '70s was an incredibly productive period for the band. Of course, as with most bands with a long history they are not without their share of problems. There has recent been dissent between present and former members. The current US lineup features no original members so you can see how this might leave to problems. I am not about to debate the ethical and moral dilemmas facing both sides but I would like to examine their latest platter, a massive 5 CD/1 DVD box set appropriately titled The Big Box.

Here is a look at what the set includes:

Where We Started From was originally released in 2000. I suppose one criticism you could make is calling this a tribute band as the album includes remakes of a couple of classics; "The Night Owls" and "Cool Change" and of course includes no original members. That said, these are all good musicians, with a couple of members (Wayne Nelson and Steve Housden) dating back to the '80s. This is a sophisticated pop rock record as evidenced by the acapella opening in the lead off track "Where We Started From". Perhaps a bit insipid, but hey the band has always been known for writing good ballads. Although there may be too many slow tunes on this one and it likely isn't as good as their classic '70s period it is still a well-crafted piece with strong vocals and melodies. "Magazine Girl" is particularly catchy with a nice guitar solo to boot. The remake of "The Night Owls" is perhaps a little more sultry and mellower than the original. Still a good track though.

Next it's on to the live disc One Night In Mississippi, originally released in 2002. Included are many of their biggest hits like "Reminiscing", "Take It Easy On Me", Cool Change" and "Lady" all stylishly performed with class and professionalism. Good live disc for sure and the production quality is excellent.

Test of Time features all original compositions from 2004. Again the band had crafted some fine pop music like the soaring pop rock of "The Long Goodbye" with its lovely vocal arrangement, the country flavoured ballad "Should I Go", again the vocal harmonies are quite lovely, the addictive "Back In Your Arms Tonight", another silky smooth pop rock platter and the slight guitar bite of "Old Money". Some good tracks here and if you have been a fan of the band this will likely be worth your time.

Re-arranged (2006) is just as the title suggests, a reworking of past tunes including all the classic singles. The semi-hard driving "It's A Long Way There", a little R&B and a little funky and the catchy "Man On Your Mind" is a nice one two punch to begin the disc. The beautiful piano intro in "Cool Change" (always been a sucker for this one) is a highlight. All these tunes are well crafted re-workings remaining true to the originals while making subtly changes as well.

With The Hits…Revisited the format is much like Re-arranged with many of the same tunes appearing on both discs save for a few tracks. That said, you just gotta love the ripping solo on "Lonesome Loser" and of course "Lady" is a soft rock classic.

The last disc is a live DVD concert titled Bustin' Out – 40th Anniversary, celebrating the band's 40 year history at the time of the tour in 2015. Backing up the band is the Florida Rock Symphony Orchestra. The band took some flak for the title , as mentioned earlier there are no original members here. Whatever your feelings on that, this is still a fine group of tunes played with detail and finesse. The band sounds great and is as tight as you would expect them to be. Would like to have included a couple more classics from the '70s but that's okay. The bluesy "The Other Guy" with searing slide guitar and the symphony embellished "Take It Easy On Me" are a couple of highlights.

If I have one gripe it is the repeating of some of the songs. Other than that this is a nice box set.

Some of you might be thinking I just lost my prog 'cred' for liking this huge serving of, let's face it, predominantly soft rock. Well, all I can is I like and listen to music because I like the songs first and foremost. If that happens to be progressive music great. If not, c'est la vie!

Current band members:

Rich Herring (guitar, vocals)
Greg Hind (guitar, vocals)
Chris Marion (keys, vocals)
Wayne Nelson (bass, vocals)
Ryan Ricks (drums, vocals)

Track Listing:
Where We Started From

1. Where We Started From
2. This Place
3. Magazine Girl
4. Just You And I
5. The Night Owls
6. I Think I Left My Heart With You
7. Who Made The Moon
8. Look In Your Eyes
9. American Way
10. Lead Me To Water
11. Cool Change

One Night In Mississippi
1. Man On Your Mind
2. This Place
3. Take It Easy On Me
4. Lonesome Loser
5. Where We Started From
6. Reminiscing
7. Happy Anniversary
8. Who Made The Moon
9. The Night Owls
10. Help Is On Its Way
11. It's Not A Wonder (24-Bit Remastered 99)
12. I Think I Left My Heart With You
13. Cool Change
14. Lady

Test Of Time
1. The Long Goodbye
2. Should I Go
3. Back In Your Arms Tonight
4. Old Money
5. Hold On
6. Enlighten Me
7. Forever Now
8. Can't Get You Outta' My Heart
9. I've Met Love Before
10. I'm Waiting
11. There's A Bus Leaving

1. It's A Long Way There
2. Man On Your Mind
3. This Place
4. Take It Easy On Me
5. Happy Anniversary
6. Forever Blue
7. The Other Guy
8. Reminiscing
9. Should I Go
10. We Two / Down On The Border
11. Help Is On Its Way
12. The Night Owls
13. Cool Change
14. Lonesome Loser
15. Lady

The Hits…Revisited
1. Help Is On Its Way
2. Reminiscing
3. Lady
4. Lonesome Loser
5. Cool Change
6. The Night Owls
7. Take It Easy On Me
8. Man On Your Mind
9. We Two
10. You Saved Me
11. All The Young Faces

Bustin' Out (DVD)
1. The Night Owls
2. Take It Easy On Me
3. The Other Guy
4. We Two
5. The Lost And The Lonely
6. I'm An Island
7. Clean The Water
Bonus Track
Prodigal Son (Audio)
Interview With Little River Band Members

Added: September 9th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2094
Language: english

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