THE YOUNGBLOODS - The Youngbloods/Earth Music/Elephant Mountain

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2 CDs with 3 albums.

Being a Youngbloods fan since the late '60s and a Jesse Colin Young "solo" fan from the 1970s on, I've never been completely satisfied with his former band's CDs. The sound (that is, the mastering/remastering) was usually lifeless and, in the case of the various "hits" compilations, one or more of my favorite tracks would often miss the final cut.

This 2-disc set from BGO, which presents the band's first three albums in their entirety, solves both problems. The sound has as much punch as the single-disc 2002 comp, "Get Together: The Essential Youngbloods" on RCA/BMG Heritage. Plus, because this 2-disc set covers three full albums, I get several of my favorite tracks that were omitted from that other disc ("Smug" and "Tears Are Falling" to name just two). This 2-disc set also sounds much better than the 1999 release from One Way/BMG Special Products that piggybacked their first album (alternately called "The Youngbloods" or "Get Together") and "Elephant Mountain" on one disc.

The Youngbloods' albums for Warner Brothers in the early 1970s had their moments, but in retrospect the band's best work and strongest songs were on the three RCA albums presented here on these two discs. I agree with the one reviewer who said if "Get Together" is all you desire, then get a less expensive disc to get your one song. (Personally, I don't even think that's their best song, though it remains their best-known one; I'd rate "Darkness, Darkness" a notch or two above it. But I also think their version of "Get Together" is far better than anyone else's.)

John Tobler, a prolific and highly respected pop music historian/writer for several decades now, provides the liner notes.