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The Best of the Five Americans

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Album Review

This is a straightforward, filled-to-the-gills 25-track best-of for the band remembered by most listeners only for its big hits "Western Union" and "I See the Light." Actually, they released a lot of records during the last half of the 1960s that reveal them as a versatile, polished, yet often derivative group. They were best when putting a thumping beat to accomplished harmonies, catchy pop/rock melodies, and rolling high organ playing, as exemplified by "I See the Light" and "Western Union." They never did come up with other songs as catchy as those, and the other songs on this anthology find them combining lots of influences: Midwestern frat rock, Beach Boys and Association harmonies, and British bands like the Beatles and (on "The Losing Game" in particular) the Zombies. Sometimes the derivativeness comes perilously close to imitation. The folk-rock of "Sympathy" almost duplicates the melody of the Statler Brothers' "Flowers on the Wall" in places, "I Know They Lie" is a little-known lightweight Byrds sound-alike, and "Don't Blame Me" sounds like a tough American garage take on the Dave Clark Five. Their small 1967 Top Forty hits "Sound of Love" and "Zip Code" are here, as are two previously unissued songs of minor interest, "You Can't Win" and "Letters, Pictures, Melodies." Incidentally, this is not merely an expanded version of the 20-song best-of (Western Union) issued on same label (Sundazed) in 1989, 13 years before The Best of the Five Americans. Though five songs shorter in length, Western Union has a half dozen tracks that don't show up on The Best of the Five Americans. More surprisingly, the liner notes, while comprehensive in both CD packages, might be preferable in Western Union, which goes into much more extensive detail on specific songs.

Customer Reviews

Contains Every Chart Hit!

Few pop smashes can be instantly IDed by something as deceptively simple as the “Dit-dit-dit-dah-dit” staccato keyboard hook introducing the Five Americans’ ‘67 hit “Western Union," (as featured in the film "Vanilla Sky"). To celebrate Sundazed’s purchase of the entire Abnak tape vault, here’s a stomping Five Americans compendium—assembled with the band’s full participation. With 25 smash tracks, it’s the very best of this groovy Dallas garage-frat combo, including chart-toppers like “Western Union,” “I See The Light,” “Sound Of Love,” “Zip Code,” and memorabilia galore!

Not Bad

This album seems to contain some alternate takes or re-mixes of the originals, for example, "I See The Light." I'm a fan of the band, so overall, I liked it.

Best Song Here???

"E-V-O-L Not L-O-V-E". If you've never heard it, you've missed possibly the biggest "should have been a gigantic smash (or at least a Top 30 Hit)" of the 1960's. If you don't buy the whole album, at least pick up this hidden gem!!!

Biography

Formed: 1965 in Dallas, TX

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s

In 1966-1967, this Dallas group enjoyed some modest national success with the number five hit "Western Union," as well as a few other Top 40 entries, "I See the Light," "Zip Code," and "Sound of Love." Dominated by high bubbling organ lines and clean harmony vocals, the group favored high-energy pop/rock far more than British Invasion or R&B-inspired sounds, although a bit of garage/frat rock raunch could be detected in their stomping rhythms — and their guitar-dominated tracks offered...
Full Bio
The Best of the Five Americans, The Five Americans
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