Album Reviews

John Denver – All Of My Memories: The John Denver Collection

(RCA/Legacy)

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81MVi4Id+HL._SL1500_It’s about time! Here is the first and only comprehensive history of John Denver and his music. Beginning in 1964 with the Mitchell Trio (“For Bobbi”) to 1997, including his duet with Miss Piggy, it’s all here. Of course, the hits are included: the homespun longing of “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” the unfaltering love winding through “Annie’s Song,” and the mountain magic of “Rocky Mountain High” are here.

Every phase of Denver’s varied, prolific career is presented. Those who only remember his “yee haw,” “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” phase will be pleasantly surprised and rewarded with his early recording of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” originally titled “Babe, I Hate to Go,” from 1966. Several rare, previously unissued tracks are glowing reminders of his early days on the folk music circuit and his foray into folk-rock. Denver’s political activism and his deep concern for the environment are showcased on “Let Us Begin (What Are We Making Weapons For?)” and the Jacques Cousteau-inspired hit “Calypso.”

All the memories are here: John Denver as an introspective singer/songwriter, as on the masterful classic “Poems, Prayers and Promises;” duets with the likes of Emmylou Harris and Olivia Newton-John; the live performances; his heartfelt covers–such as of Buddy Holly’s “Everyday”–and his top ten hits.

It seems hard to imagine that one artist could cover so much ground and do it all so smoothly. John Denver is that artist.

– Gene Knapp

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