Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly

Greatest Hits [Remastered]

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Review

Along with a number of very welcome Maze album reissues, in 2004 The Right Stuff compiled what is no doubt the definitive single-disc collection of the Frankie Beverly-led band, titled simply yet accurately Greatest Hits. The 18-track compilation rounds up the four-minute single edits of such hits as "Southern Girl," "Joy and Pain," "Before I Let Go," "Never Let You Down," and "Back in Stride," among numerous others. Because many of these songs in their original states clock around seven or so minutes apiece, these single edits are preferable for a compilation such as this. This way you get as many hits as possible on the disc, and if you indeed like what you hear, you can always go and pick up the individual Maze albums, which are classics in their own right and mighty rewarding listens for lovers of late-'70s funk and early- to mid-'80s urban music. The Right Stuff, a division of Capitol Records, also went out of its way to license a few Maze songs owned by Warner Bros.: "Can't Get Over You" (1989), "Silky Soul" (1989), and "The Morning After" (1993). These latter-day recordings weren't quite as successful as the sort of songs Maze had been recording during the early '80s, but they're nonetheless great songs and an important part of the band's long-running career. All of this amounts to a well-rounded portrait of Maze, even including two live songs: the audience-singalong version of "Joy and Pain" from Live in New Orleans (1981) and a version of the band's signature "Happy Feelin's." You can't ask for a better single-disc introduction to Maze than Greatest Hits. If this disc doesn't turn you on to the band, nothing will. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi

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