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Greatest (Slipcase edition)

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Sept. 12 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B000HKCUI8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #33,164 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Greatest
2. Living Proof
3. Lived In Bars
4. Could We
5. Empty Shell
6. Willie
7. Where Is My Love
8. The Moon
9. Islands
10. After It All
11. Hate
12. Love & Communication

Product Description

Product Description

Cat Power's new album, now at a great low price, in one of three limited-edition slipcovers each with a different picture of Chan Marshall. (Click here to see the artwork.) Contains the title track, "Living Proof," "Lived In Bars," "Love & Communication" and 8 more gorgeous songs recorded with the Memphis Rhythm Band.

If you are an artist at a crossroads/ "maturing point" in your career, it's a great idea to seek out the original musicians who played on music you adore and that inspire you greatly–it's the opposite of what Rick Rubin does with the old folks. The results, however, are often lackluster; it can just be too hard to forge a connection in a short period of time with studio dudes twenty to thirty years older than you. Chan Marshall, who took just three years between albums this time, returned to Memphis to record with many of the architects of Southern soul music at Ardent Studios on The Greatest. And from the first and titular tune, a mournful and gorgeous ballad with swelling strings, backing singer and shimmery guitar accompaniment that tells the tale of a boy who wants to become a great boxer, it's clear that the results of this experiment are uniformly awesome. The sultry-voiced artiste sounds fully at home within these songs, these lovely analog Southern sounds that bridge black and white musics. It's not like she's on a trip of trying to be Aretha or anything; besides, the arrangements on all the songs are different. The loping, fiddle-accented "Empty Shell" sounds like the Unholy Modal Rounders backing Bobbie Gentry. All the songs are pretty, slow and melancholy; there's nothing like "He War" on here. We are not in the habit of quoting press releases, but it's hard to beat this line from the Matador one-sheet: "If Alex Chilton were today a beautiful young woman, he'd sound like this." Amen, or something. –Mike McGonigal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Haensel on Feb. 11 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is a great new album from Chan Marshall (Cat Power) and easily her most stable and consistant work. The addition of The Memphis Rhythm Band including Teenie Hodges, Steve Potts, Dave Smith, Rick Steff, Doug Easley, Jim Spake, Scott Thompson and Susan Marshall, adds a deepth of sound not seen on her ealier releases.

Her voice is strong, the melodies are haunting...

At a show in September (2006) she mentioned that she was drinking alot less and much more stable, and it shows. She also noted that the haunting and beautiful yet piercingly dark song Hate, in which she sings "I hate myself and I want to die" is a relicate of feelings she no longer has. Indeed, besides that song this album is the most upbeat and accessible Cat Power release.

I must admidt that although this album is wonderful it doesn't quite measure up to the hauntingly emotional and powerful tender fragility of her previous release "You are Free".

Final word: Buy this album. If you are a Cat Power fan you will love this album, and if you have never heard her but like independant beautiful music comprised of piano, guitar beautiful lyrics and one of the most striking voices in music, this is the album to start with. It is easier to get into than her other works, and will allow you to experience that rare joy of really getting into an artist, falling in love with a CD and then buying a different release that is even better (You Are Free, and for more edgy listners Moon Pix)
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Format: Audio CD
This is the first Cat Power album I have listened to in its entirety, and I seem to play the first song and end up listening to the entire thing over and over.

I cannot judge her by any other albums (which is why I have rated 4 stars), but The Greatest is a jem. Chan is wise beyond her years and writes beautiful music. She puts so much emotion into her music and every song is genuine and original.

Whether you own all of her other albums or have just discovered her, I urge you to give this album a listen. The album starts off with the wonderful title track "the Greatest" and is strong the whole way through, although some personal favorites are "Lived in Bars" and "Willie"
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By Jodi L Anderson on Sept. 4 2007
Format: Audio CD
I love this album so much I want to sleep with it under my pillow. And I'm a grown woman. It rocks. Thanks Chan.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By momo_adachi on Dec 18 2006
Format: Audio CD
This is an album that everyone has recommended and finally I picked it up; at first, I must admit I was none too impressed with the similarity between tracks and the down-tempo feel. But it's definitely an album that grows on you; the more you listen to it, the more you notice the uniqueness and beauty of each individual song. From the first track to the last, Power's subtle voice and the sweeping string/acoustic arrangements on "Greatest" is pure gold. Melodic, introspective, lyrically superior and socially aware, this album will have you pondering, inspired, and even tearful from front to back. The title track steals the spotlight (although it's a large spotlight). One of the most sublime albums of the year and by far a CD that any country, folk, pop, rock, jazz and soul fan should own.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 108 reviews
56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Never heard of Cat Power before this one .... Sept. 9 2006
By desmond - Published on
Format: Audio CD
... So the other reviews here, necessarily, have me baffled.

I just found out about Cat Power via this CD. So my impression as a first-timer, completely ignorant of her previous works:


Of course, I grew up in the South, hearing Janis Joplin, Dylan, Van Morrison, and other "blues/gospel-inflected" music (even if these artists are mostly "before my time," and not necessarily from my area).

So I, personally, was thrilled to find this album. And I can honestly say -- in a "scene" where I am constantly bombared with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Killers, etc. -- Cat Power is the only musician that has had me personally excited in a few years.

So take it for what it's worth. I guess my next step will be to check out Chan's other albums.

But those other albums don't matter to me, at the moment.

I give this a very happy and enthusiastic 5 Stars.
46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Cat Power Goes Memphis with "The Greatest" (4.5 stars) Feb. 27 2006
By Juan Mobili - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Cat Power's output will never be accused of being very emotive or lyrically overwrought, yet her latest album goes beyond the austere boundaries of prior releases. This is not to say that Marshall has gone over the edge in any way, yet in The Greatest her voice seems to reach for new tender corners and there's a certain compassion for her songs' characters in this album which- at least to me-have never been this apparent in the past.

This is the case with the title song and opener, a moving piece about a boxer, which already showcases some key musical choices that give The Greatest its particular feel. Whether it's the subtle guitar work, the way the strings and piano unfold its melody, or the drums-which I don't recall being present as often or featured as they are throughout these tracks-ease you into a different kind of Cat Power album.

A similar feel to the opener returns in "Living In Bars," "Where Is My Love" and "Willie," yet not all songs comply to this formula, by the way, songs like Living Proof," "Could We," "After It All" or "Islands" are-in their own ways and by Cat Power' standards-more accessible, more willing to reach out than past material.

Still, this is a Cat Power album, "The Moon"-one of my favorite songs-as well as "Empty Shell" or "Hate," each in its own way, proved this and may remind you of prior albums.

So, enjoy and be moved by a special singer and interesting songwriter who's still willing to explore the music outside her usual world, and had the shy observer she's always been, step out into new moods.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Great Album June 18 2006
By Gary Peterson - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I met Chan Marshall on the internet about three years ago. We were both listed in the Yahoo Membership Directory and, of course, in disguise. I remember her listing saying that she was concerned about the melting of the polar ice caps and running low on toilet paper. Amused, I dropped her a note telling her that the polar caps would probably hold for a while, but to keep a close eye on the toilet paper. First thing you know, we were chatting and developed an internet friendship. Nice lady. Pleasant. Friendly. Funny. Interesting. We ultimately revealed our true identities to one another. I looked up Cat Power on, bought the "You are Free" disc and liked it from the first listen. Later, I purchased "The Covers Record" CD and liked it too. At about that time, Cat Power came through San Diego. A couple friends and I went downtown for a listen. When we got to the venue, there was a good-sized crowd milling around and looking somewhat disgruntled. It seems the concert was sold out. What a disappointment! I then took out a very small piece of paper, wrote a note to Chan explaining our difficulties and asking if there was anything she could do. I gave it to a venue worker and he took it in to her. About five minutes later, all three of us were admitted without tickets and at no cost. What a nice thing for her to do! We enjoyed the concert and I thought "Good Woman" was the best song of the evening. My only regret was in not getting to meet Chan in person.

I bought "The Greatest" CD the week it came out. I listened to it once and put it away. Somehow, I have to be in the right mood to listen to Cat Power Music, and the time wasn't right.I was too hard pressed with too many things. Now, six months later I'm listening again. It's a splendid and elegant CD. Chan's voice is in beautiful form and she`s backed by a terrific band. Strings, guitar, slide guitar, sax, piano, organ, bass drums and voices lightly and skillfully fill in the backdrop behind Chan's vocals, but they never intrude. The arrangements are exquisite. All of the songs are excellent (I seem to have an extra bonus track) and the quality and style is much more uniform than on the "You are Free" CD. The music is slower, softer, generally more melodic and with a slightly countryish or folkish slant. The arrangements and production are elegant and the songs are of such uniform and high quality that I'm hard-pressed to come up with favorites. OK, I'll try. I'd say "Empty Shell," "Willie," "Islands," and "Love & Communication" might be the best, but only by a tiny margin. IWith a slightly different mood, I might have another list.

I enjoy listening to Cat Power music, but I have difficulty interpreting the songs. On this particular CD, all the lyrics are printed on the inside of the cover, so I can follow along line by line, but I still have trouble interpreting the songs. It seems strange that I'd enjoy the music so much and even get a bit teary eyed in places, even though I don't understand the song. Evidently, Chan is very skilled in conveying deep emotions through her voice alone. Then along comes a song like "Hate." Chan, Hon, we all love you; don't hate yourself and want to die.

Gary Peterson
36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Mature, Sultry Approach Wins Me Over Feb. 26 2006
By M. JEFFREY MCMAHON - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The Greatest by Cat Power is a great place to get introduced to this original songwriter. Slowed down, acoustic, dreamily textured, these songs reflect the maturity of a songwriter at the top of her powers. Those who warm up to these slower acoustic songs will probably want to check out kindred spirits in the bands Beaumont, The Big Phony, The Clientele, Club 8, The Concretes, Hope Sandoval, Le Mans, The Monglfier Brothers, Ronderlin, and Simpatico.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Slow, Sloooow Burner... July 17 2006
By Dejan Kovacevic - Published on
Format: Audio CD
It took me a while to get used to the sound and (emotional) tone of this album, but once I was over that hump - I just cant' stop listening to this record. And subsequently can't stop being thrilled with it.

I still don't know what is the secret of this albums appeal; originally I was drawn by the sheer idea of Al Green's/Willie Mitchell's backing guys recording something new, but the sound has nothing to do with any kind of recycled soul. Instead, it has a lot of soul, but is just not of the reheated kind; it is soul music in a sense that it is a pure emotion, and this is how I imagine what soul - a music genre - is.

But this album transcends any genre. my closest definition would be to imagine if Velvet Undergrounds went down deep South in an attempt to record their "Exile on Main St." album, and Nico - clean and sober, albeit in a trenchant melancholy mood - sings all the songs - then that would be this record!

Sometimes the things we don't get right away, we get to cherish the most: this album is pure beauty despite its hard to penetrate surface. Give it a chance, it will grow on you.