Well, just play me some “Mountain Music.” It’s been 25 years since Alabama signed its first record deal with RCA, and in celebration RCA/Legacy has released the three-disc box set Alabama: Livin’ Lovin’ Rockin’ Rollin’: The 25th Anniversary Collection, covering the Alabama phenomenon.
Unlike 2005′s The Essential Alabama set, this collection cherry picks songs from across the years. Plenty of hits are to be had as well as eight previously unreleased tracks. The set comes with a detailed 52-page book with photos, band timeline, track annotations and an essay by Robert Oermann. This set tells about the band’s legacy and gives you an understanding of why RIAA named them the “Country Band of the Century.”
From the get go, disc 1 captures you with “My Home’s In Alabama (Live),” “Forty Hour Week (For A Livin’),” an anthem for millions of people, and a seven-plus minute medley of “That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine/Suppertime/Teach Your Children/Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home.” This is followed by “Mountain Music,” which always gets my foot tapping.
Disc 2 starts out with “Feels So Right,” a song that millions (me included) slow danced to many times in the ’80s. A song that surprised me was Alabama’s version of “God Must Have Spent A Little More Time on You,” with ‘N Sync doing the harmony vocals. Though ‘N Sync made the song famous, Alabama added real feeling to it. Granted, they’re different music genres, but it’s the quintessential Alabama that has been keeping it “real” all these years while America’s popular music tastes have varied widely from the artificial sounding ’80s, the grunge ’90s and whatever it’s called today.
Disc 3 just keeps the good music rolling and finishes off with an interesting trio of songs, the story-telling “Ripperly O’Tucke (Demo),” the name dropping “Hats Off” and ending appropriately with “The Fans.”
51 songs including almost two dozen number one songs, over half a dozen live/alternate versions, and eight previously unreleased tracks, Livin’ Lovin’ Rockin’ Rollin’ is worthy of anyone’s music collection.
“We hope you remember, we are just the boys in the band. And what keeps the fires a’burnin,’ is always, you the fans.” Many fans remember fondly all right. Alas, the band’s retirement from the road won’t keep fans from looking forward to more recordings.