Review: john Denver, "All of my Memories: The man Denver Collection"

November 7, 2014 by Joe Marchese leaving a Comment

“Sunshine on mine shoulders renders me happy,” goes among John Denver’s most renowned songs. In a small over 5 minutes – and also even less in its single version – “Sunshine” touch on countless of the themes most necessary to the singer-songwriter: nature, love, beauty. Throughout the course of a career sadly cut quick when he perished in a plane crash in 1997 aged simply 53, Denver revisited this themes over and also over again, using his pure, crystalline tone to bring comfort and also spread a article of peace. V his boyish good looks, gentle voice and enthusiasm because that music and also nature, the was among the preeminent popular music voices of the 1970s, incorporating folk and country impacts into his famous material. Heritage Recordings and Denver’s longtime label, RCA, have actually recently celebrated his enduring gifts of song with the relax of a brand-new box set, All of my Memories: The john Denver Collection. This 4-CD, 90-track box set revises and expands ~ above Denver’s last retrospective box, 1997’s The country Roads Collection.

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vice versa, that collection was minimal to the troubadour’s RCA years, this box likewise takes in the earliest component of his career and also his post-RCA recordings because that labels including Sony, Windstar and also MCA.

Two-time Grammy winner Denver charted much more than 40 Billboard warm 100, AC and Country songs from 1971 come 1988, and also this box set naturally attributes a number of them, most notably his twangy sing-along breakthrough “Take Me Home, country Roads” (No. 2 Pop/No. 3 AC/No. 50 Country, 1971), the sweet “Sunshine on mine Shoulders” (No. 1 Pop/No. 1 AC/No. 42 Country, 1974), the euphoric “Rocky mountain High” (No. 9 Pop/No. 3 AC, 1972), the joyful “Thank God ns a nation Boy” (No. 1 Pop/No. 5 AC/No. 1 Country, 1975) and also the lush, sensual ode to his then-wife, “Annie’s Song” (No. 1 Pop/No. 1 AC/No. 9 Country, 1974). Many of Denver’s own compositions are, naturally, featured alongside tracks composed by bill Danoff and also Taffy Nivert (who co-wrote “Take Me Home, country Roads” and “I assumption: v He’d quite Be In Colorado”), girlfriend Holly (“Everyday”), john Prine (“Blow Up her TV (Spanish pipeline Dream)”), Joe Henry, and others. This job overview likewise takes in an essential album tracks, live performances, and also rarities consisting of promotional-only and privately-pressed tracks. In addition, six songs make their very first appearances all over on this set. Usual for a collection of this nature, the lesser-known material is the most fascinating.

Somewhat startlingly, Denver’s familiar, warm voice is instantly recognizable and also his style virtually fully-formed on key One’s an initial two tracks. Both are previously unissued demos indigenous an October 1964 Capitol session produced by The new Christy Minstrels’ founder, Randy Sparks. “This Road,” native Sparks’ own pen, and Morgan Ames’ “Far next of the Hill,” space lushly orchestrated with strings and also background singers in the renowned folk-pop layout of the day, but Denver effortlessly sails above the ornamentation through a i was sure vibrato and earnest delivery. (The arrangements were by “Our Day will Come” composer Mort Garson.) These features would serve him well down his very own road – a road that Sparks helped set him on when he insisted that the young artist readjust his name from Henry man Deutschendorf, Jr.! john took his brand-new moniker both indigenous his favourite state and also from The brand-new Christy Minstrels’ “Denver,” the very first single from the singing group’s 2nd album! The box additionally has highlights native his tenure with The Chad Mitchell Trio.

The original, previously unissued version of “Rhymes and also Reasons” is consisted of here as taped for Reprise records in 1968. The was later on re-recorded for Denver’s RCA debut later on that year through the very same producer – Milton Okun, with whom Denver would build a solid bond and association that would last because that years. The Reprise variation lacks the prominent piano part of the RCA version and has a different sonic character. It’s no radically dissimilar, however sheds irradiate on Denver’s emerging style. (A pair of other rare monitor come indigenous Denver’s Reprise period – both political parties of Denver, Boise and also Johnson’s 1968 single featuring the rollicking political novelty “The ’68 Nixon (This year’s Model)” and the folk-rock that “Take Me to Tomorrow.”)

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A 1977 live rendition of “Spirit” indigenous the Sydney Opera residence was excised from the 1999 release of the concert and also makes its first appearance here; so does an alternate take that the Jack Williams-written “Eli’s Song,” indigenous 1976, a song with lyrics that were plainly close to Denver (“You’re startin" the end strong, you acquire a kick the end of life/You favor to sing songs, it is in in the spotlight/And once everybody’s watchin’ you, girlfriend shine therefore bright/See the plane fly, watch the trees rush by/Be brave and strong when friend hurt yourself/Don’t you have a worry in the world…”). The final previously unreleased monitor is a 1973 rendition of william Mayhew’s “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie,” claimed to have been a favorite of Denver’s mother. The tune was introduced in 1936 by fats Waller and later recorded by everybody from Slim Whitman to Tony Bennett. Denver had performed the song on television and in concert, however this loose, acoustic version hails from a studio date.

Denver could be best-remembered for his global love songs; one of the most eloquent of lock is heard double here. Denver first recorded “Babe, I hate to Go” in 1966 because that a private demo which remained unreleased till the relax of 2011’s finish RCA Albums Collection box set. It found its means to Peter, Paul and Mary, and as “Leaving top top a Jet Plane,” it ended up being the first No. 1 for the individual trio and for its songwriter. The story-song to be filled v indelible imagery, merely rendered through vulnerability and an emotional honesty anybody could recognize; Denver re-recorded that for Rhymes and Reasons, and also as befits a song so crucial to his career, that variation is included alongside the 1966 demo.

The severe themes in Denver’s music occasionally were hidden by the AM-friendly purity and also beauty of his sound, but the artist’s political next isn’t glossed over on All of my Memories, either, whether ethereal (“Calypso,” a tribute to explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau) or turoulend (“The ’68 Nixon (This year Model)”). “Let Us begin (What space We Making tools For),” indigenous 1986, to be a plea in the midst of the Reagan era to address the farm situation and additionally an assertion of Denver’s old pacifism.

The lighter next of the artist is reflect in countless of the collaborations here, top top which mutual respect is in an excellent evidence. Emmylou Harris bring her golden harmonies to 1983’s empathetic “Wild Montana Skies” and the classic country sound is paid beautiful tribute top top “And So the Goes,” special The Nitty Gritty dust Band. Sylvie Vartan, French ye-ye girl and onetime wife of French rocker Johnny Hallyday, shows up on the 1984 single “Love Again,” v her smoky ton contrasting Denver’s ~ above the satisfied MOR ballad. However the most fun of these duets is the medley the “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” v “Happy Trails,” through Denver playing Roy Rogers to miss out on Piggy’s Dale Evans. It’s no wonder why The Muppets were amongst the singer’s favourite co-stars! (If any type of duet companion is many missed, that Frank Sinatra, with whom Denver marketed out a record-breaking ras Vegas engagement and also starred in a 1976 tv special on which lock sang the wistful conventional “September Song” together. Denver"s early on demos with other singer-songwriter man Stewart quiet await advertising release, too.)

All of my Memories is draft in the same compact style as Legacy’s long-running Box collection Series, however the stock of the package is of much greater quality here. Producers Teri Landi and also Rob Santos, in addition to art manager Meghan Foley, have developed a beautiful set including an attractive booklet through a brand-new essay and also full credits and discographical annotation because that each track. Note Wilder has done his customarily wonderful job remastering Denver’s music come the greatest standard.

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Each listener will undoubtedly lug his own memories come All of my Memories, so ingrained in popular society has much of man Denver’s music become. In the liner note essay by Colorado hall of Fame director (and Denver friend) G. Brown, the singer is quoted as saying, “The worst things that have ever happened come me have actually been what people said around my music – ‘the Mickey computer mouse of pop’ or ‘the Ronald Reagan the rock.’” yet he needn’t have been came to with together labels. Listening come these four discs the Denver’s heart-on-his-sleeve sentiments, a quote native Irving Berlin involves mind: “There’s an facet of truth in any type of idea that lasts long sufficient to be corny.” No doubt man Denver’s truthful, global music will continue to last a long, lengthy time.

All of my Memories: The man Denver arsenal is obtainable at Amazon U.S. And also Amazon U.K. !