Album Review: Little River Band — Ultimate Hits

Call it soft rock if you like. Label it as yacht rock if you must. Formed in Melbourne waaay back in the mid 1970s, the band enjoyed worldwide success, placing ten singles on the Billboard Top 20. The scored a #1 with “Help is on Its Way,” and did nearly as well with the breezy, sentimental “Reminiscing.” Popular worldwide, they were a massive draw in their native Australia.

The classic lineup – in other words, the one that recorded all the hits – finally splintered in the late ‘90s. Today there is a group using the name, but it features only one musician who was involved with the group during its heyday. But one can avoid such topics and instead spend time listening to Ultimate Hits.

There have been LRB best-of collections before – I count five prior to this one – but Ultimate Hits gets the nod nevertheless thanks to its availability in the classic vinyl format. A 3LP set, it features 25 songs, giving listeners most everything they’d want from the band. The package includes plenty of color and b&w photos nd a historical essay.

And hey: if all that isn’t enough, you’re still in luck. A companion set, Masterpieces is also available. Featuring 26 more songs – and with no overlap with Ultimate Hits – it’s a collection of some of the (original) band’s – and fans’ – favorite selections from their deep catalog. Sidestepping the issue of exactly how much hype is involved in titling an album in such a manner, it’s certainly a well-selected set. The liner notes feature quotes from the players themselves, making this more special than some random, slapped together collection.