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Anthology in Motion, Vol. 1

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Album Review

This sprawling three-CD collection offers a thoughtful if somewhat idiosyncratic overview of the Samples' 20-year history through 2002, mixing demos, live recordings, and studio highlights with minimal regard to chronology or flow. In doing so, however, it encourages in the listener a great sense of respect for a band whose vision remained idealistic and unchanging over such a long span of time. Sean Kelly and company were in financial and organizational chaos when this compilation was issued independently in 2002; consequently, it received minimal promotion and went unnoticed by the general public, existing instead as a "thank you" to the group's considerable fan base. Which is just as well: Anthology in Motion is a far from ideal introduction to the Samples' work and should not be construed as a "greatest-hits" collection. Several of their better-known and better-received songs, such as "Did You Ever Look So Nice," are omitted altogether, replaced by some unnecessary duplication (live and studio versions of "Radio Song") and a couple embarrassing early-stage demos ("Little Silver Ring," "Ocean of War"). The haphazard jumping between live and studio material is effective, though, for recapturing the attention and memories of people who followed the Samples ardently during their mid-'90s heyday but forgot about them as they got older. Sean Kelly's Thoreau-like ponderings on the merging of the theological, metaphysical, and ecological are consistently engaging, and the simple truths reflected in such songs as "Nothing Lasts for Long" and "Walking in the Snow" warrant repeat visitations. Anthology in Motion would have benefited from better liner note information, such as a discography for new listeners who want to explore the Samples' catalog further, but for all its disservice to non-fans, it's a rewarding recapture of many of their shining moments for those who'd been along for the ride.

Biography

Formed: 1989 in Boulder, CO

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With their relaxed, slightly jazzy pop, the Samples were one of the most popular touring bands of the early '90s. After a bad experience with a major label, the band began releasing their own records independently, building support through a grassroots network of fans. Through constant touring, the Samples were able to keep building their network of fans. They were also busy in the studio, recording three albums between 1992 and 1993. With none of their albums deviating from their folky, Sting-meets-the...
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Anthology in Motion, Vol. 1, The Samples
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