Loggins & Messina - The Best: Sittin' In Again

Loggins & Messina
The Best: Sittin' In Again

(Columbia/Legacy)

First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2005, Volume 12, #7

Written by John Metzger

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In 1972, fresh from stints with both Buffalo Springfield and Poco, Jim Messina signed a deal to produce six albums for Columbia Records. His first foray was meant merely to showcase the talent of an up-and-coming songwriter named Kenny Loggins, but the resulting album Sittin’ In achieved such widespread commercial success that the partnership quickly became an ongoing enterprise. Indeed, between 1972 and 1977, the duo issued five studio outings, two concert recordings, and a greatest hits retrospective before going their separate ways. Nearly 30 years later, the pair have set aside their differences, rekindled their friendship, and announced a 40-show reunion tour. In anticipation of their country-wide excursion, they dusted off their career retrospective The Best of Friends and altered its contents to produce The Best: Sittin’ In Again. Long-time fans undoubtedly will be annoyed at the exclusion of a trio of tracks — Peace of Mind, My Music, and Thinking of You — which had been featured on the former outing. However, from the driving funk of Good Friend to the Paul Simon-meets-The Eagles bounce of Listen to a Country Song, the new package essentially provides a more balanced examination of the cooperative’s Crosby, Still, and Nash-inflected career. Granted, some of the material hasn’t aged well — most of the arrangements undeniably are stuck in the ’70s — but there is an easy-going and endearing quality to tunes like House at Pooh Corner and Danny’s Song. Moreover, beneath the tasteful veneer of The Best: Sittin’ In Again’s 18 tracks lie indelible melodies, tight-knit vocal harmonies, and a superbly fanciful sense of musicianship. During the airy sprawl of Be Free, for example, Messina utilizes a mandolin to provide a bouzouki-like accompaniment that magically carries the song from Greece to Ireland, while the percussion-driven jazz of Angry Eyes is reminiscent of Low Spark-era Traffic. While most of the lyrics are mired in relationship-oriented fluff, the socio-political commentary Same Old Wine is, perhaps, more poignant and meaningful today than when it initially was written. At nearly 80 minutes in length, there’s no question that The Best: Sittin’ In Again might prove to be a tad long for all but Loggins & Messina’s most enthusiastic fans, but the manner in which it so thoroughly delves into their back catalogue transforms it into a definitive overview of their brief, but prolific history. starstarstar

The Best: Sittin' In Again is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

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Ratings

1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!

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Copyright © 2005 The Music Box