Little River Band – Ultimate Hits & Masterpieces (LP Set Review)

Little River Band – Ultimate Hits & Masterpieces (LP Set Review)

The ’70s era of Rock-n-Roll was quite diverse in many aspects. You had the birth of early Heavy Metal, Punk Rock, Glam Rock, Progressive Rock, and more marketable to a broader audience, Soft Rock. Not necessarily a traditional music genre category, in general, Soft Rock encompasses a long list of artists that includes Ambrosia, American, Firefall, Toto, and of course, Little River Band. 

Coming together back in 1975, Little River Band made a significant impact on Rock music, being the first Australian band to achieve international success. In fact, it is not outlandish to say that Little River Band’s breakthrough into the American market paved a path for other Australian bands international success, such as AC/DC, Air Supply, as well as INXS. Together, Little River Band (with a classic lineup of Beeb Birtles, David Briggs, Graeham Goble, Derek Pellicci, George McArdle and Glenn Shorrock) sold over 30 million records, attained ten top 20 singles, and at a time, were one of the biggest bands in the world. 

These factors in mind, in more recent years, Little River Band technically still exists, but under the band’s name with none of the original members who wrote and performed during their classic period. Head-scratching and rather disappointing to fans, fortunately Birtles, Briggs, Goble, Pellicci, McArdle, and Shorrock teamed together in 2021 to remaster and expand re-releases of their first ten albums, alongside two new compilations. The compilations, entitled Ultimate Hits and Masterpieces, made their way to physical format on December 9, 2022 and are available in both a 2CD and 3LP set through Universal Music. Refreshing and exciting to see, it is a perfect way for Little River Band to remind their fans and casual listeners of their impressive catalogue. 

For the Ultimate Hits collection, you get a 3LP 180-gram heavy vinyl set in full color sleeves, or a 2 CD set. As far as the LP set, it is a rather beautiful package simplified by large images on the front and rear of the sleeve, you get 26 songs in total, all remastered by Ross Murray Cockle and executive produced by Graeham Goble himself. Of course, including fan-favorites such as “Help Is on Its Way,” “Reminiscing,” “Lady,” Lonesome Loser,” “Cool Change,” and “Night Owls,” the remastered collection sounds crisp, smooth, and magical for this pressing. In addition, the aforementioned full color sleeves have extensive liner notes that give your insight to the band’s history to read along with as you spin the records. 

For the Masterpieces collection the founders of Little River Band go a little deeper into their discography. Doing so they create a compilation of 26 songs from their history not released as singles. Also, a 3LP 180-gram vinyl set in full color sleeves, or as a 2 CD set, the tracks are also remastered and sounding as lovely as ever before. This collection also offers fantastic liner notes with background behind each of the tracks with thoughts from the members themselves. In all, it is truly a gem of a collection because it allows a longtime fan indulge in less mainstream Little River Band tunes, but also gives a less astute fan a chance to enrich their palette with understanding of the band and their songwriting. 

All things said, the fact that the founders of Little River Band and Universal Music took the time to go into the band’s history to put all of this together is rather inspiring. It gives hope that the importance of physical format in music is not dead, plus highlights Little River Band’s career in solid fashion. In times where nearly all media shoots by us at a lightning pace and feels disposal the moment after we consume it, it is nice to slow down to truly take in an artist and their work. That is why it is recommended you pick up the LP sets or CD sets of both Ultimate Hits and Masterpieces, because Cryptic Rock gives these collections 5 out of 5 stars. 

Little River Band – Ultimate Hits / Universal Music

Little River Band – Masterpieces / Universal Music

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