Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure & Unknown Recordings

( 4 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
The product of a sleepy industrial town perched in New York State's western corner, 10,000 Maniacs were an unlikely commercial breakthrough. But break through they did in the late '80s with their second album of ebullient folk-pop, In My Tribe. The Maniacs married chiming melodies to topical themes given voice by the alluring Natalie Merchant. Aptly described by its subtitle, this 31-song survey assembles the group's biggest hits alongside a tasteful selection of rarities and cover versions. In keeping with Merchant's pointed pen, the former group includes thoughtful ruminations on child abuse "What's the Matter Here?" and the poetry of everyday life "These Are Days"...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
The product of a sleepy industrial town perched in New York State's western corner, 10,000 Maniacs were an unlikely commercial breakthrough. But break through they did in the late '80s with their second album of ebullient folk-pop, In My Tribe. The Maniacs married chiming melodies to topical themes given voice by the alluring Natalie Merchant. Aptly described by its subtitle, this 31-song survey assembles the group's biggest hits alongside a tasteful selection of rarities and cover versions. In keeping with Merchant's pointed pen, the former group includes thoughtful ruminations on child abuse "What's the Matter Here?" and the poetry of everyday life "These Are Days" as well as a stirring live rendition of the impassioned Bruce SpringsteenĀ–Patti Smith song "Because the Night." Fans will delight in early tracks such as "My Mother the War," which reinforces the Maniacs' initial left-of-the-dial status, which placed them in sonic company with then contemporaries such as R.E.M. and the Cure. An added bonus is Merchant and company's simmering version of Cat Stevens' "Peace Train" -- which was removed from later versions of In My Tribe as a protest against the singer-songwriter's support of a fatwah against author Salman Rushdie. The many other cover versions that fill the set's second disc attest to the band's broad-ranging influences, from a tear-stained take on Tom Waits's "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You" a rare single to a folksy version of Iris DeMent's gorgeous "Let the Mystery Be" from MTV's Rock N' Roll Inaugural Ball, a duet with David Byrne. With rich rewards for both casual and maniacal fans, Campfire Songs offers a thumbnail portrait of a fascinating and influential band, with enough extras to warrant a closer look.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Spanning 31 songs and two discs, one covering "The Most Popular Recordings" aka "The Hits" and one covering "The Obscure & Unknown Recordings" aka "The B-Sides and Cover Versions", Rhino/Elektra's 2004 compilation Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure & Unknown Recordings of 10,000 Maniacs is as good a career overview as could be assembled. The hits disc may miss a minor charting single like "Few and Far Between," but it has all the songs of note, from the hits to album tracks. Meanwhile, the rarities are devoted pretty much to B-side covers in addition to four previously unreleased demos, the early outtake "Poppy Selling Man," plus their cover of Cat Stevens' "Peace Train," which was removed from latter-day editions of In My Tribe. There's enjoyable stuff on both discs -- the singles "Like the Weather," "What's the Matter Here?," "Trouble Me," "Candy Everybody Wants," and "These Are Days" are very good indeed, laying the groundwork for adult alternative pop
ock, while the early demos on the second disc are livelier than most Maniacs material and the Michael Stipe duet on "To Sir With Love" is a priceless artifact from the height of Clinton optimism which faded quite quickly. But even these moments have the Achilles' heel of a production that is far too big for the group's gentle simple songs. Overall this expertly assembled collection -- which is as good as a 10,000 Maniacs anthology could be -- is best as a time capsule, capturing the earnest, precious optimism and PC nature of American college rock before grunge came along and dirtied everything up.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/27/2004
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • UPC: 081227390020
  • Catalog Number: 73900
  • Sales rank: 16,314

Album Credits

Performance Credits
10,000 Maniacs Primary Artist
Don Grolnick Piano
Pee Wee Ellis Tenor Saxophone
Bruce Dukov Violin
Maceo Parker Alto Saxophone
Jevetta Steele Voices
Jerome Augustyniak Percussion, Drums, Group Member
Robert Buck Synthesizer, Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Pedal Steel Guitar, Devices, Group Member
Paul Buckmaster Conductor
Larry Corbett Cello
Paulinho Da Costa Percussion
Bill Dillon Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Slide Guitar
Dennis Drew Organ, Piano, Accordion, Group Member
Morgan Fichter Violin, Background Vocals
Pamela Goldsmith Viola
Steve Gustafson Bass, Guitar, Group Member
John Lombardo Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Dennis Karmazyn Cello
Amanda Kramer Piano, Pump Organ
Kim Laskowski Bassoon
Bob Magnusson Bass
Jerry Marotta Percussion
Natalie Merchant Piano, Vocals, Group Member
Novi Viola
Mary Ramsey Violin, Viola, Background Vocals
Fred Wesley Trombone
Jane Scarpantoni Cello
Atsuko Sato Bassoon
Richie Stearns Banjo
Jim Foti Drums
Ralph Morrison III Violin
Technical Credits
Iris DeMent Composer
10,000 Maniacs Producer
David Bowie Composer
Jackson Browne Composer
John Prine Composer
Bruce Springsteen Composer
Cat Stevens Composer
Tom Waits Composer
Gary Smith Producer
Peter Asher Producer
Jerome Augustyniak Composer, Liner Notes
Joe Barbaria Remixing
Joe Boyd Producer
Jerry Boys Engineer
Robert Buck Composer
Paul Buckmaster Arranger
David Campbell String Arrangements
A.P. Carter Composer
Dennis Drew Composer, Liner Notes
Frank Filipetti Engineer
Paul Fox Producer
Steve Gustafson Composer, Liner Notes
Tony Harris Engineer
Dan Hersch Remastering
Bill Inglot Remastering
John Lombardo Composer, Liner Notes
Lenny Kaye Producer
Mark London Composer
George Massenburg Engineer
Natalie Merchant Composer, Liner Notes, Art Direction
Morrissey Composer
Mike Scott Engineer
Patti Smith Composer
Stephen Street Composer
Ed Thacker Engineer
Mike Walsh Composer
Jay Vicari Engineer
Anthony DeCurtis Liner Notes
Donald Black Composer
Albert Garzon Producer, Engineer
Steve Woolard Liner Notes
Gina Tampio Engineer
Mary Van Houten Engineer
Bill Waldman Producer, Engineer
Michael Walsh Composer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

4 Star

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3 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Maniacs’ peak was on In My Tribe and Blind Man’s

    The Maniacs’ peak was on In My Tribe and Blind Man’s Zoo. Many of the other songs just don’t match the songs from those albums. The best of disc probably rates 3 ½ stars and the rarities disc is about 2 ½ stars. Natalie Merchant and her band mates were idealists whose execution didn’t always match their ambition. Protest music should have more heat than they generated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An almost perfect collection......

    This is an almost perfect chronicle of the 10,000 Maniac's years together. I was at their final show at Lake Chataqua and I will never forget it. I say it is ALMOST perfect, because I was sad to see that Scorpio Rising wasn't included. I have one of the 200 or so original demo records with Planned Obsolesence. The quality of the remaster is amazing. I love this CD and I love the band.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    one of the most underrated bands

    If you want to hear Natalie Merchant at her very best and the distinctive guitar work of the late great Robert Buck, then this is the CD set for you. This is smart music, no love songs. Socially conscious lyrics put to great music. The upbeat Natalie that her ''solo'' fans have missed is all here. From the weird wild early days, to classics songs with meaning like: Don't Talk (alcohol abuse) What's the Matter Here (battered children) Hey Jack Kerouac (the beat poets) Poison in the Well (precursor to Erin Brockovich) Eat for Two (youth pregnancy) Big hits like: Like The Weather, Candy Everybody Wants, These Are Days, and the Springsteen/Smith cover Because The Night. CD 2 has some great rare gems like the Cat Stevens cover Peace Train, no longer available on the classic In My Tribe CD, and songs that fans know from cd single added tracks, like some great covers of the likes of John Prine, Lulu, Morrissey, Jackson Browne, Tom Waits, David Bowie, etc. This is one of those ''best of'' CD's that will make you want to go out and get all the 10,000 Maniacs CD's.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews