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Styx - Best of Styx CD (album) cover




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2.64 | 12 ratings

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Easy Livin
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2 stars The best of Styx. . . before they made their best recordings

Dating from 1977, this album is Wooden Nickel/RCA's attempt to recoup some of their investment in Styx. The band originally signed to Wooden Nickel who were later bought over by RCA. Unfortunately for them Styx's greatest success came after they moved on to A&M records. Consequently this "Best of" draws its tracks only from the band's first four albums up to "Man of miracles" released in 1974. There is therefore no Tommy Shaw who would not arrive until 1976.

The tracks lack the sophisticated AOR feel of the later albums, being far more basic pop rock songs. Most were released as unsuccessful singles, which perhaps tells its own tale of the anonymity which tended to dominate their early work. There are some relative highlights such as the gentle "What has come between us" which features some striking harpsichord and organ. The song actually has fairly complex arrangement, with fine guitar work in the latter section. Most of the tracks though are clearly geared towards finding that elusive hit single, "Southern woman" for example could be by any one of a thousand bands.

"Winner take all" moves dangerously close to Bee Gees territory, John Curulewski clearly having had some sort of assistance reaching the high falsetto screams. "Best thing" from the first album was a very minor US hit. It is actually rather a creditable single, with good instrumentation, and a forward looking arrangement.

The track order is pretty random, although the songs from the first two albums are mainly on side one. This is presumably done to create a more satisfactory album. Since the tracks are all from the same mould, their album of origin is largely irrelevant.

Do not be misled by the album title here. To claim this is "The best of Styx" is at best economical with the truth (even in 1977). The album does however offer a decent way of sampling the band's early albums.

By the way, there seems to be some confusion about the original release date of this collection, as it has been re-released on several occasions. My LP copy is dated 1977, and has a different sleeve to the one shown here. It seems the sleeve colours were changed when the album, which was originally released by Wooden Nickel was re-released by RCA. The image is essentially the same, but without the cartoon colours, the hand being covered in gold plating.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |


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