Tom Petty: American Treasure + Fleetwood Mac: 50 Years + Aretha Franklin: The Queen Of Soul

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Tom Petty’s American Treasure has been compiled by his family and it’s a collection worth getting for the acoustic version of Won’t Back Down alone, recorded live. The box set features live and personal favourites so it’s not your standard attempt to cash in.

While some mourned the death of David Bowie, the loss of Tom Petty was worse for the Review Corner as we’re massive fans. He was a talented man. There are some great songs on here, from opener Surrender — a live favourite that never made it on an album — to a live version of Breakdown, and that acoustic version of Back Down.

But it’s not a hits package, and there are lesser-known songs and different versions / extra bits on songs that are better known. The mix of tunes means it stands together well. In a beautiful case and with good sleeve notes, this is a must-have for Petty fans.

Fleetwood Mac’s 50 Years is out because the Mac are 50 years old, still successful and proving you don’t have to like each other to run a successful franchise. The loving care that has gone into the Petty CD (above) is lacking on this, it’s just your basic sleeve notes and some waffle about how this is an essential collection.

Still: they got some good tunes, and we liked the Mac a lot more after seeing them live: they’re a proper band, and kept their love of making music. This new 3CD set has nothing you’ve not heard before but it possibly is the best complete run-through of their career, from Albatross and Oh Well to the more modern music (so the last good song they wrote was in 2013, with the penultimate song — Say You Will — written 10 years before). We had a massive compilation of early stuff a few years back but there’s only so much 12-bar blues you want in a day whereas with this you’re pretty soon into Rhiannon. Good for Mac fans who’ve no compilations, essential for anyone who doesn’t know the music.

Aretha Franklin’s Queen Of Soul is a double CD, the first the original version of her great songs, CD2 the recent CD of Franklin with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, which paired Franklin’s vocal tracks with orchestral arrangements. They’ve also bunged on a version of Silent Night, just piano and Aretha. Given her stupendous voice, there’s not much silent about it: it just needs a video of Jake and Elwood dabbing away tears. All together now: “Sleeeee-eeeee-eeeep in heeeeeeeaaavanly peeeeeEEEEEeeeeEEEEEeece.”

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