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Campfire Songs: The Popular, Obscure & Unknown Recordings

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10,000 Maniacs 12/7/2004

Review

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/rock, 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. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Planned Obsolescence 10,000 Maniacs 4:28
  3. 2 My Mother the War 10,000 Maniacs 3:32
  4. 3 Tension 10,000 Maniacs 3:30
  5. 4 Scorpio Rising 10,000 Maniacs 3:14
  6. 5 Like the Weather 10,000 Maniacs 3:56
  7. 6 Don't Talk 10,000 Maniacs 4:59
  8. 7 What's the Matter Here? 10,000 Maniacs 4:49
  9. 8 Hey Jack Kerouac 10,000 Maniacs 3:24
  10. 9 Verdi Cries 10,000 Maniacs 4:24
  11. 10 Trouble Me 10,000 Maniacs 3:14
  12. 11 Poison in the Well 10,000 Maniacs 3:9
  13. 12 You Happy Puppet 10,000 Maniacs 3:39
  14. 13 Eat for Two 10,000 Maniacs 3:32
  15. 14 Stockton Gala Days 10,000 Maniacs 4:22
  16. 15 Candy Everybody Wants 10,000 Maniacs 3:8
  17. 16 These Are Days 10,000 Maniacs 3:42
  18. 17 Because the Night 10,000 Maniacs 3:43
  19. 1 Poppy Selling Man 10,000 Maniacs 3:34
  20. 2 Can't Ignore the Train 10,000 Maniacs 2:52
  21. 3 Peace Train 10,000 Maniacs 3:24
  22. 4 Wildwood Flower 10,000 Maniacs 1:53
  23. 5 Hello in There 10,000 Maniacs 4:22
  24. 6 To Sir With Love 10,000 Maniacs 4:11
  25. 7 Everyday Is Like Sunday 10,000 Maniacs 3:10
  26. 8 These Are Days [Cover] 10,000 Maniacs 3:28
  27. 9 I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You 10,000 Maniacs 3:35
  28. 10 Starman 10,000 Maniacs 4:14
  29. 11 Let the Mystery Be 10,000 Maniacs 3:10
  30. 12 Noah's Dove 10,000 Maniacs 4:12
  31. 13 Circle Dream [Alternate Lyrics Demo][Previously Unreleased][Demo] 10,000 Maniacs 3:25
  32. 14 Eden [Demo][Alternate Lyrics Demo][Previously Unreleased] 10,000 Maniacs 3:33

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