Songwriter and pianist Anne Clark has been a cult figure since the early '80s and has amassed a rather sizable catalog despite her small but rabid following. She writes nearly-Gothic love songs full of obsession and pathos, and pretty orchestral settings with clever instrumental figures and stinging piano runs and minor-key epiphanies. She's a consummate artist, playing to her strengths while trying to subtly, but surely, extend her reach, and always following her own muse, even when it takes her into dissonant territory. Most of her albums are out of print even on CD, and sell for collector's prices when they can be found. This is too bad, because Clark has assembled a solid, if quirky, and passionately honest body of work. This best-of issued by Beehive is truly that. It features 24 tracks and clocks in at over 75 minutes. Many of these are Clark's most lovely songs, such as "The Sitting Room," "All Night Party" (with Vini Reilly of Durutti Column), the "12" remix" of "Our Darkness," and "The Last Emotion," as well as instrumental themes such as "Swimming" and "An Ordinary Life".
Roden was singer with the Alan Bown Set ('60s) and Bronco ('70s) before going solo on the Island label. Only two Roden albums have ever been available on CD anywhere in the world. This CD picks the best of his six albums for Island and is the first best of on either vinyl or CD. Roden has sung/played on albums by Robert Palmer, Paul Kossoff, John Martyn, Mott the Hoople and Jim Capaldi and came from the same West Midlands music scene as Led Zeppelin. He stepped into the late Jim Morrison s shoes when remaining Doors became the Butts Band and worked with legendary New Orleans producer Allen Toussaint.
ZZ Top closed out their tenure with London Records in late 1977 with The Best of ZZ Top, a basic but terrific ten-song retrospective of highlights from their first five albums (well, four, actually, since the underwhelming Tejas is ignored).
The Best of A Flock of Seagulls is an excellent 12-track roundup of A Flock of Seagulls' best material. Their catalog wasn't particularly deep outside of the hits "Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)" and "I Ran (So Far Away)," but they did do some good new nomantic synth pop, particularly on cuts like "Nightmares," "A Space Age Love Song," and "Telecommunications," all of which are here. As a matter of fact, this really does contain all of the group's best material, and while new wave fetishists will likely go for the actual albums anyway, most listeners will be more than satisfied with this.
Released not long after Warren Zevon announced that he was suffering from terminal cancer, perhaps some could argue that the single-disc Genius: The Best of Warren Zevon exploits his tragedy by recycling his catalog. The argument holds no water, because not only is it worth celebrating the work of this singer/songwriter, but his catalog was calling out for a collection like this. Although there was the double-disc set I'll Sleep When I'm Dead and a 1986 hits collection, there was no set produced during the CD era that chronicled not just his heyday, but his late-'80s comeback while cherrypicking highlights from the '90s. This does exactly that over the course of a generous, sharply selected 22 tracks. Given the space, it's inevitable that some great songs are missing, but if you're looking for a comprehensive overview, turn to the two-disc set. If you're looking for an introduction or simply a stellar selection of highlights, this suits the bill perfectly.