HARRY NILSSON – Rarities Collection

Album: Rarities Collection

Artist: Harry Nilsson

Label: RCA/Legacy

Release Date: November 24, 2013




 Harry Nilsson’s rep has been all over the place. Praised in his prime (the ‘70s) by every member of The Beatles for his pop music chops and clever lyrics, by the ‘80s he was seen by many as just another middle-of-the-road has-been who provided background noise for adult contemporary radio station. The fact that the songs he was best known for were among the weakest in his cannon, did him no favors: “Without You” (a cover), “Coconut” (the epitome of a novelty pop songs) and “One” (I have no defense of this one).

 But a curious thing happened over the past two decades. A whole new generation of musicians and music fans started to rediscover Nilsson’s impressive stockpile of pop songs and realized that, biased perceptions aside from their folks, he was actually a brilliant artist. Among those who started to sing his praise were Elliott Smith, Nick Lowe and Aimee Mann. When Legacy records re-released the massive 17 CD RCA Collection earlier this year, they also cobbled together a separate disc of rarities. That rarities set – consisting of 12-songs – is finally out on 180-gram, limited numbered vinyl. And while some of these demos and alternate tracks are better than others, almost all are impressive enough to have been earned the right to be rescued from obscurity and tossed on this record. And while “One” is still a pretty awful song, the version here is at least palatable. The other songs, however, are pretty great.

 This album is a must have for the completist and not a bad start for those whose only touchstone to Nilsson is a scratched up, warped copy of Nilsson Schmilsson.

 DOWNLOAD: All of it, if you are a Nilsson collector.


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