Little River Band – Ultimate Hits; Masterpieces (Universal Music)
It’s a little shocking that it took the recent yacht rock rebirth, (the seemingly ironic, but in reality propelled by pure love, revival) to finally bring the music loving world’s attention back to musicians like Hall & Oates, Fleetwood Mac and Christopher Cross. But just as important is the renewed focus on the criminally underrated Australian pop/soft rock group, The Little River band.
Throughout the mid- ‘70s and ‘80s the band turned in one stellar record after the next, beginning with their self-titled 1975 LP. At this point, all founding members have since left the band, but Universal has just put out two fantastic collections pulling together some of their biggest hits, as well as under the radar classics. These sets are offered on vinyl, CD and digital. The first, Ultimate Hits, is an obvious choice for even the most casual fans. At 25 tracks, it collects their biggest singles like “Lady,” “Lonesome Loser,” “Take It Easy On Me,” and “Happy Anniversary,” (a staple on romantics’ mix tapes across the globe throughout the 1980s).
Masterpieces, at 26 tracks, is more of an interesting offering. None of the songs here were ever released as singles but have become fan favorites over the past several decades. Some of their more rock focused songs, like “Just Say That You Love Me,” and “Hard Life,” with louder guitars, shows the group in a whole new light for those who only know the band’s biggest hits, underscoring their versatility. Masterpieces is a little harder to get into, but well worth repeated listens once you do.
Both sets have been put together by members of the original Little River Band, and the songs have all been remastered, while the liner notes offer a detailed narration of the band’s history. These latest sets are a perfect excuse to revisit one of the best pop bands to come out of Australia.