Rarities compilations can be a bit of a mixed bag more often than not. It’s the music the artist didn’t think was good enough to release in the moment, obviously. But sometimes, they’re great. And this is a pretty great one.
Of course, it’s helps to be a fan. Fans as always going to be more receptive of this kind of thing. But, in this case, this rarities album shows off everything that makes the Joe Policastro Trio great.
The material is diverse:
- there’s a Bond theme (with a little bit of the Bond theme thrown in as a coda),
- an ’80s hit (this was the song that got me into this group),
- some Lou Reed,
- some Nina Simone,
- some Bee Gees,
- some Beatles,
- music from South Pacific,
- some Police,
- and one single original. (For me, someone who is much more a fan of their covers, this is a good thing.)
Most of these tracks could easily have fit on their previous albums, and it’s really hard to understand, in the CD/digital age, why they weren’t included. But that’s fine, here they are now.
Despite the presence of some earlier members of the band, I don’t find too much of an obvious variation in musicianship between the different iterations. Maybe if I was paying slightly more attention and wasn’t mostly listening to this while I work, I’d notice the differences in technique from the three guitarists (if not the techniques of the different drummers).
The sound quality is also pretty uniform. I guess that’s the way it is now in the 21st century but time was rarities compilations would be all over the place in terms of sound quality, especially if unfinished demos were involved. But that’s not an issue here, as this sounds like just another one of their albums.
Anyway, wonderful stuff.