Continuous Hit Music – a weekly exploration of vinyl finds in 2012. Read ‘em all here.

Artist: Raspeberries
Title: Raspberries’ Best Featuring Eric Carmen
Original Release: 1976
Label: Capitol
Store: Addison Rd Markets, Marrickville, Sydney
Price: $10
(Original US pressing)

Markets continue to be a great source for vinyl records. There’s always a couple of stands at Marrickville’s Addison Road Markets. The market itself is something out of Portlandia. People selling Dim Sum over twice how much they cost in a proper Chinese place. There’s also homemade shampoo and and guy who I think puts his leftovers into an ice cream maker and sells the results at a premium.

I also wonder who is buying some of these records. Take this $10 purchase. Raspberries’ Best – featuring Eric Carmen. Did the guy who sold me this think, “Ah, Marrickville. They love that overly dramatic power pop stuff there. It’s bound to go today.” I hope he did.

I did get it, of course. I figured it’s a good way to knock over this band’s discography on the head.

For those who don’t know – well, you mostly don’t need to. The Raspberries were a second rate power-pop/glam rock band. They had a talent in frontman Eric Carmen, who wrote and sang their music. Carmen went on to sing and write the hit ‘Hungry Eyes‘ from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. He also penned ‘All By Myself‘, which ended up being a hit for Celine Dion. His best song however is ‘Make Me Lose Control‘, a slice of Beach Boys meet Bryan Adams bit of radio rock that still sounds great.

But this compilation was before all that. Raspberries themselves never made it to the big time. They do have a devoted following in that power pop scene, so much they they actually reunited a few years back. I bought all 4 of their albums on CD, and it’s pretty same-y stuff. And even some samey stuff seems a bit lacking.

There are a handful of pretty good songs. ‘Go All the Way’ opens every Raspberries compilation, as it’s a pretty fun, Free-like rocker. Then the schmaltzy verses kick in, and then the highly disturbing lyrics. ‘Tonight‘ and ‘I Wanna Be With You‘ are fun, servicable rockers. ‘Ecstasy‘, with a riff very close to a You Am I song, is probably the best thing on here.

Then there’s ‘Overnight Sensation‘. A widescreen, overblown bit of insanity about wanting a hit record. It starts small then goes big, very big. Then it stops, and hey, it comes back again, with a huge choir singing the chorus, brass squeeling away, and the drums bouncing all across the mix. I think they probably thought it was a clever, but this is exactly the kind of stuff that the Clash came and pissed all over a few years after.

Yeah, it hasn’t dated well, but it’s still pretty fun. Terrible lyrics and dodgy production aside, it’s definitely worth $10. And it’s quite nice to listen to just 40 minutes of this stuff in one hit, as opposed to a long drawn out CD length greatest hits.

The sleeve is also quite fun, with two essays running along the edges, then continued on the back, then continued on the inner sleeve. I know it’s supposed to look like a newspaper, but why? We’ll probably never know. For the strange design alone, it’s worth having. It certainly makes it the best Raspberries collection out there.

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