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Boney M. Tops My Year
Boney M., "Future World" (1984)
Get "Ten Thousand Lightyears" (MP3)!
My Top Music of 2016
1. Ten Thousand Lightyears - Boney M. (2007)
After a five-year lull, I reconnected with the Boney M. thanks largely to this album on Spotify. It was the group's next-to-last album and, though I find it to be an amazing production, it did come at an awkward time in Boney M.'s career. Their mainstay male "singer," Bobby Farrell, was out of the picture. However, Frank Farian, the group's founder-producer and actual male vocalist is heard on several tracks. This left no one to lip-synch for him, which put the group's make-up off kilter. Reggie Tsiboe came on board as Bobby's replacement in 1982 and recorded and is pictured on the album cover of Ten Thousand Lightyears. Reggie is indeed a singer but has less leads than Frank. Adding to the confusion is the use of singer Sandy Davis, also male, who takes the lead on a cover of Tommy Roe's Dizzy. Marcia Barrett is prominently featured on the rest of the album. In spite of all these kinks, it works! I think Ten Thousand Lightyears is Boney M.'s best album after Nightflight to Venus (1978). The album's sole single was the ballad Somewhere In The World. My favorite song on here, "Future World", is featured at the right. The 2007 reissue is enhanced with two early singles, an outstanding cover of The Seekers' The Carnival Is Over and Mahjun's quirky (I Need A) Babysitter.
2. The Essential Boney M. (2007)
I found this on Walmart's website and, having unused money on a gift card, I bought it. The 2-CD set covers the group's career from 1975 to 1990. It also includes their original recording of Barbra Streisand which samples their 1979 single Gotta Go Home. Duck Sauce would later have a huge hit with a cover of it. The one misstep I find here is the single Stories on which the group dabbles in rap, reminiscent of Salt 'N Pepa. I know they were probably keeping up with the times, but the profanity doesn't work for them. An earlier "rap" number Young, Free & Single was a better fit. I did sell this set in favor of #6 below.
3. Anthology - Brotherhood Of Man (Home compilation)
This is probably my most ambitious original since I assembled all of Christine McVie's songs with Fleetwood Mac on three discs a few years ago. This, too, is three-discs-long and consists of all the first-run songs I owned by Brotherhood Of Man. The first disc consists of all of their original compositions including their two US hits, United We Stand and Save Your Kisses For Me. The other two are made up of cover songs.
4. Hits - Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship (1998)
I've had this set since its release but played it extensively following the death of Paul Kantner. Admittedly, I listened to the second disc more which consists of hits by Jefferson Starship and Starship. I never really cared for Jefferson Airplane aside from Grace Slick's songs. Disc Two starts with Marty Balin's comeback single Miracles and goes up to the hits by Starship. Other highlights include No Way Out, We Built This City, Sara, and Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now.
5. Dark Sky Island (Deluxe) - Enya (2015)
I talked about this one in my hub from December 29. I will say that after counting up the weeks for this list, I didn't realize I'd played it that often.
6. The Complete Collection - Boney M. (2000)
This didn't rank as high since I had #2 longer. It is my Boney M. collection of choice and I kept an eye out for it until I could buy it. It was only released in Denmark and better covers the group's career than #2, especially their Christmas songs. My only complaint is an odd edit of Rasputin, my favorite song of theirs. It starts out as the album version, but then it fades after the bridge. A long version of The Carnival Is Over is included which makes up for it.
7. The Raven Masters - Helen Reddy (Home compilation)
I compiled this from five twofer CDs released by Australia's Raven Records, Helen's first 10 albums with bonus tracks. My angle was to include all of her singles and all of her cover songs. The bonus tracks are all present as well. They consist of three 60s recordings and tracks from Helen's 1978 album Live In London.
8. Songs From The Trees: A Musical Memoir Collection - Carly Simon (2015)
This 2-CD set was released in conjunction with Carly's autobiography, Boys In The Trees. It covers her career from 1971 to 1987. Two bonus tracks round out the collection, an unreleased 1978 track Showdown (James Taylor can be heard on background vocal) and a new song I Can't Thank You Enough (son Ben Taylor is heard here).
9. Big Hits - Big Mouth (Home compilation)
Big Mouth is the original moniker of Willem Duyn (Mouth & MacNeal). I compiled this 2-CD set from the duo's 2001 import The Singles + using all of the songs featuring Willem. This includes several songs he recorded with then-wife Little Eve (Ingrid Kup) and two solo numbers. Most will remember Mouth & MacNeal's US one-hit wonder How Do You Do from 1972.
10. Bella Donna: Deluxe Edition - Stevie Nicks (2016)
I covered the third disc in my hub from December 29. The first disc consists of the original 1981 album featuring the singles Stop Draggin' My Heart Around, Leather And Lace, Edge Of Seventeen, and After The Glitter Fades. The second is a mix of demos and previously unreleased songs, the highlight for me being Sleeping Angel from the motion picture Fast Times At Ridgemont High. It's probably the most beautiful ballad Stevie has written and recorded. The absence of the unedited version of Leather And Lace from this set is baffling but can be found on two prior compilations.