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Rare Tracks

Peter Beckett

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Album Review

Be prepared to shell out a hefty sum for Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's Rare Tracks. Precisely what the title says it is—a collection of remixes and alternate versions of many of the duo's best known and loved songs, all of them either previously unavailable or difficult to come by in America—the compilation was only made available through East West Japan. So, the $30-to-$35 question: Is it worth the cost it takes to track down? The admittedly noncommittal answer: yes and no. It is an emphatic "yes" for committed enthusiasts or collectors of the duo's music. Rare Tracks has in abundance everything that we've come to expect from Pete and C.L., and like all their domestically released music, every song is marked by high-quality craftsmanship. Rock, too, has always been just as important a remixer as producer, so even his rare mixes are first-rate. The answer is probably "no," on the other hand, if you approach the album expecting illumination. All the songs on Rare Tracks had already come out in some form or other, and while the versions here feature sometimes significant differences from the originals (a particularly robust "Lots of Lovin'," a keyed-up "Mecca & the Soul Brother" that is outstanding), the new glosses don't really add any revealing insights into the songs or the group itself. It is still fantastic, though, to have them available and laying around the house.

Rare Tracks, Peter Beckett
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