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Finally Picked Up All 4 Studio Albums...


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I had been listening to "Raspberries' Greatest" exclusively for a couple of months. I finally decided to take the plunge and pick up all of the original LPs.

The good news is, "Waiting" is probably worth the entire 60 bucks. The bad news is, kinda disappointing that of the 20 or so songs from these albums not on the "Greatest" CD, about 3 of them are died-in-the-wool Carmen songs.

Starting Over is definitely the bands' best album, when the songs are taken as a group. While most of their best songs don't appear on this album, the "lesser" songs are way better than on the other albums, in my mind.

Some of the Bryson tunes on the first three albums are nice and fun to listen to. To me, the Smalley songs are largely uninspiring, but that's just a matter of taste.

The incongruity amongst the songs as a group on the first three albums is striking. While it would have to be tough/impossible to produce 10 "Eric classics" 4 times in three years, I do feel the "filler" songs soften the impact of most of these albums, and create confusion as to the identity the boys were going for. But even the Beatles were affected by the pressure to deliver product, so I guess a certain amount of filler is inevitable during this era.

Next stop for me is the Eric solo albums. Is the first one available in any affordable format? At first glance it seems not.

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Hi Paul, really good post. Insightful and smart, IMHO. I agree with some things you say, and see some of the things you mentioned a little different than you.

Here's my response:

1. "Waiting" - in agreement with you on this one. Great great song that would be (real) cool to hear Eric Carmen play on piano by himself at a future show.

2. Filler songs - I disagree with you here. For my taste, over the 4 albums there are only 3 less than average songs (filler songs): "Get It Movin", "Rock & Roll Mama" and "It Seemed So Easy". I know few bands that can claim so few "filler songs" over a 4 album span. Even there some fans LOVE those 3 tunes I mentioned.

3. Smalley and Bryson - "Makin It Easy" and "Should I Wait" (Smalley songs) are up there with the best Raspberry songs. All of Wally Bryson's songs are good - great. Eric Carmen is a genius song writer - because the other guys' songs might not rate with Eric Carmen's isn't to say the other guys' songs aren't good-great. Most of their songs ARE good-great.

4. Eric Carmen's first solo is very Raspberryish, though still different... and probably better than any of the Raspberry albums. It's a melodic pop masterpiece, IMHO.

5. I think as you listen more you'll begin to see the light on some of the songs you now classify as "filler songs".

6. Incongruity - Like you I bought the "Best of...." first and then followed up with the 4 original studio albums. At first I too thought there was incongruity because I was used to listening to the Carmen classics off the "Best Of..." album. But once I got used to listening to the 4 original studio albums, I lost the sense that the band's identity was inconsistent. Sure each guy wrote in his own style, but overall I think the band was as consistent as most other bands.


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Hey James howdy,You stated your fan opinion brillantly on this topic. I always felt that the raspberries had and still have the perfect balance of musicianship.Its a daunting challenge to keep up the appeal of song after song without a let down at some point.The raspberries I think held a steady course in giving their fans music worth the eternal listen.

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Listened to some of these songs a few more times during my commute today. I do agree that Smalley's songs on Side 3 are more interesting than on the first two albums. They sound a bit like early Eagles tunes.

McCarl's song "Rose Coloured Glasses" reminds me of "Pictures of Matchstick Men." I like it a lot.

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