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The RCA Albums Collection
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Album: The RCA Albums Collection
# Song Title   Time
1)    Ten Little Indians
2)    1941
3)    Cuddly Toy
4)    She Sang Hymns Out of Tune
5)    You Can't Do That
6)    Sleep Late, My Lady Friend
7)    She's Leaving Home
8)    There Will Never Be
9)    Without Her
10)    Freckles
11)    It's Been So Long
12)    River Deep Mountain High - (mono)
13)    Ten Little Indians - (mono)
14)    1941 - (mono)
15)    Cuddly Toy - (mono)
16)    She Sang Hymns Out of Tune - (mono)
17)    You Can't Do That - (mono)
18)    Sleep Late, My Lady Friend - (mono)
19)    She's Leaving Home - (mono)
20)    There Will Never Be - (mono)
21)    Without Her - (mono)
22)    Freckles - (mono)
23)    It's Been So Long - (mono)
24)    River Deep Mountain High - (mono)
1)    Daddy's Song
2)    Good Old Desk
3)    Don't Leave Me
4)    Mr. Richland's Favorite Song
5)    Little Cowboy
6)    Together
7)    Everybody's Talkin'
8)    I Said Goodbye to Me
9)    Little Cowboy
10)    Mr. Tinker
11)    One
12)    Wailing of the Willow, The
13)    Bath
14)    Daddy's Song
15)    Good Old Desk
16)    Don't Leave Me
17)    Mr. Richland's Favorite Song
18)    Little Cowboy
19)    Together
20)    Everybody's Talkin'
21)    I Said Goodbye to Me
22)    Little Cowboy
23)    Mr. Tinker
24)    One
25)    Wailing of the Willow, The
26)    Bath
27)    Aerial Ballet Radio Spot
1)    Puppy Song, The
2)    Nobody Cares About the Railroads Anymore
3)    Open Your Window
4)    Mother Nature's Son
5)    Fairfax Rag
6)    City Life
7)    Mournin' Glory Story
8)    Maybe
9)    Marchin' Down Broadway
10)    I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City
11)    Rainmaker
12)    Mr. Bojangles
13)    Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear
14)    I Will Take You There [Single Mix] - (remix)
15)    Waiting [From Jenny]
16)    Rainmaker [Single Mix] - (remix)
17)    Mournin' Glory Story [Single Mix] - (remix)
18)    Garbage Can Ballet [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
19)    Harry Radio Spot - (previously unreleased)
20)    Voices of Vista Radio Spots - (previously unreleased)
1)    Vine St.
2)    Love Story
3)    Yellow Man
4)    Caroline
5)    Cowboy
6)    Beehive State, The
7)    I'll Be Home
8)    Living Without You
9)    Dayton, Ohio 1903
10)    So Long Dad
11)    Snow
12)    Love Story [Alt. Version]
13)    Cowboy [Alt. Version]
14)    I'll Be Home [Alt. Version]
15)    Living Without You [Alt. Version]
1)    Everything's Got 'Em
2)    Town [Narration], The
3)    Me and My Arrow
4)    Game [Narration], The
5)    Poli High
6)    Trial and Banishment [Narration], The
7)    Think About Your Troubles
8)    Pointed Man [Narration], The
9)    Life Line
10)    Birds [Narration], The
11)    P.O.V. Waltz
12)    Clearing in the Woods [Narration], The
13)    Are You Sleeping?
14)    Oblio's Return [Narration]
15)    Think About Your Troubles [Alt. Version]
16)    Life Line [Alt. Version]
17)    Down to the Valley [Alt. Mix with Extended Ending]
18)    I'll Never Leave You
19)    Point Travel Brochure Radio Spot, The - (previously unreleased)
1)    Introduction
2)    1941 [Slowed Down, Remix] - (remix)
3)    Daddy's Song [New Vocals, Guitar & Piano out of Sync]
4)    Mr. Richland's Favorite Song [New Background Vocals, Remix] - (remix)
5)    Good Old Desk [Slowed Down, Remix] - (remix)
6)    Everybody's Talkin' [Second Voice Removed, Remix] - (remix)
7)    Bath [Re-Equalized]
8)    River Deep Mountain High [New Vocals, Remix] - (remix)
9)    Sleep Late, My Lady Friend [Remix] - (remix)
10)    Don't Leave Me [Remix] - (remix)
11)    Without Her [New Vocals, Remix] - (remix)
12)    Together [New Vocals, Bridge Edited Out, Remix] - (remix)
13)    One [Remix] - (remix)
14)    Closing
15)    You Can't Do That [Remix] - (remix)
16)    It's Been So Long [Italian Version] - (previously unreleased)
17)    Sleep Late, My Lady Friend [Italian Version] - (previously unreleased)
18)    Without Her [Italian Version] - (previously unreleased)
19)    Cuddly Toy [Italian Version] - (previously unreleased)
20)    You Can't Do That [Italian Version] - (previously unreleased)
21)    BBC Saturday Club Introduction - (previously unreleased)
22)    1941 [Live on BBC's Saturday Club] - (previously unreleased)
23)    Mr. Richland's Favorite Song [Live on BBC's Saturday Club] - (previously unreleased)
24)    Nilsson Talks with Brian Matthew - (previously unreleased)
25)    Together [Live on BBC's Saturday Club] - (previously unreleased)
26)    Good Old Desk [Live on BBC's Saturday Club] - (previously unreleased)
27)    Aerial Pandemonium Ballet Radio Spot - (previously unreleased)
1)    Gotta Get Up
2)    Driving Along
3)    Early in the Morning
4)    Moonbeam Song, The
5)    Down
6)    Without You
7)    Coconut
8)    Let the Good Times Roll
9)    Jump Into the Fire
10)    I'll Never Leave You
11)    Si No Estas Tu
12)    How Can I Be Sure of You
13)    Moonbeam Song, The
14)    Lamaze
15)    Old Forgotten Soldier
16)    Gotta Get Up [Alt. Version]
17)    Nisson Schmilsson Radio Spots
1)    Take 54
2)    Remember (Christmas)
3)    Joy
4)    Turn on Your Radio
5)    You're Breakin' My Heart
6)    Spaceman
7)    Lottery Song, The
8)    At My Front Door
9)    Ambush
10)    I'd Rather Be Dead
11)    Most Beautiful World in the World, The
12)    What's Your Sign?
13)    Take 54 [Alt. Version]
14)    Campo de Encino
15)    Daybreak [Single Version]
16)    It Had to Be You/I'd Rather Be Dead
17)    Son of Schmilsson Radio Spot
1)    Lazy Moon
2)    For Me and My Gal
3)    It Had to Be You
4)    Always
5)    Makin' Whoopee!
6)    You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)
7)    Lullaby in Ragtime
8)    I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now
9)    What'll I Do
10)    Nevertheless (I'm in Love with You)
11)    This Is All I Ask
12)    As Time Goes By
13)    I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
14)    Make Believe
15)    Trust in Me
16)    It's Only a Paper Moon
17)    Thanks for the Memory
18)    Over the Rainbow
1)    Many Rivers to Cross
2)    Subterranean Homesick Blues
3)    Don't Forget Me
4)    All My Life
5)    Old Forgotten Soldier
6)    Save the Last Dance for Me
7)    Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga
8)    Loop De Loop
9)    Black Sails
10)    Rock Around the Clock
11)    Down by the Sea
12)    Flying Saucer Song, The
13)    Turn Out the Light
14)    Save the Last Dance for Me [Alt. Version]
15)    Don't Forget Me
16)    Black Sails - (previously unreleased)
17)    Pussy Cats Radio Spots - (previously unreleased)
1)    Jesus Christ You're Tall
2)    It's a Jungle Out There
3)    Down by the Sea
4)    Kojak Columbo
5)    Easier for Me
6)    Turn Out the Light
7)    Salmon Falls
8)    Puget Sound
9)    What's Your Sign?
10)    Home
11)    Good for God
12)    Goin' Down [Alt. Version]
1)    I'll Take a Tango
2)    Something True
3)    Pretty Soon There'll Be Nothing Left for Everybody
4)    Ivy Covered Walls, The
5)    Here's Why I Did Not Go to Work Today
6)    Flying Saucer Song, The
7)    How to Write a Song
8)    Jesus Christ You're Tall
9)    Will She Miss Me?
10)    Tree Out in the Yard, A (Central Park)
1)    That Is All
2)    Just One Look/Baby I'm Yours
3)    Moonshine Bandit
4)    I Need You
5)    Thousand Miles Away, A
6)    Sail Away
7)    She Sits Down on Me
8)    Daylight Has Caught Me
9)    Zombie Jamboree (Back to Back)
10)    That Is All (Reprise)
11)    That's the Way It Is Radio Spot
1)    All I Think About Is You
2)    I Never Thought I'd Get This Lonely
3)    Who Done It?
4)    Lean on Me
5)    Goin' Down
6)    Old Bones
7)    Sweet Surrender
8)    Blanket for a Sail
9)    Laughin' Man
10)    Perfect Day
11)    Ain't It Kinda Wonderful [From the World's Greatest Lover]
12)    Sweet Lorraine
13)    Shuffle Off to Buffalo
14)    Ballin' the Jack
15)    All I Think About Is You
16)    Knnillssonn Radio Spot
1)    1941 - (previously unreleased)
2)    World - (previously unreleased)
3)    Signs - (previously unreleased)
4)    Cuddly Toy - (previously unreleased)
5)    This Could Be the Night - (previously unreleased)
6)    As I Wander Lonely
7)    Family, The - (previously unreleased)
8)    Miss Butter's Lament
9)    Mr. Tinker [Alt. Version]
10)    Leggenda
11)    Sister Marie [Stereo Remix] - (remix)
12)    She Wandered Through the Garden Fence - (previously unreleased)
13)    One [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
14)    I Said Goodbye to Me [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
15)    Searchin' - (previously unreleased)
16)    She's Just Laughing at Me - (previously unreleased)
17)    Together [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
18)    Bath [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
1)    You Are Here
2)    Cast and Crew, The
3)    Garbage Can Ballet
4)    I Will Take You There
5)    Girlfriend (Theme from "the Courtship of Eddie's Father")
6)    Wasting My Time [Alt. Mix]
7)    Rainmaker [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
8)    Open Your Window [Alt. Take] - (previously unreleased, alternate take)
9)    Postcard - (previously unreleased)
10)    Think About Your Troubles [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
11)    Marry Me a Little - (previously unreleased)
12)    Ballin' the Jack - (previously unreleased)
13)    Gotta Get Up - (previously unreleased)
14)    Down to the Valley [Single Mix]
15)    Buy My Album [Single Mix]
16)    Joy [Alt. Version]
17)    Blackbird - (previously unreleased)
18)    Paradise - (previously unreleased)
19)    Lucille - (previously unreleased)
20)    Early in the Morning [Alt. Version]
1)    Walk Right Back
2)    Jump Into the Fire [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
3)    Isolation
4)    Without You
5)    Driving Along
6)    Gotta Get Up
7)    Coconut
8)    Old Forgotten Soldier [Alt. Demo]
9)    Down
10)    Moonbeam Song [Alt. Demo], The
11)    Jump Into the Fire [Single Version]
12)    Per Chi
13)    Joy [Guitar Demo]
14)    Joy [Piano Demo]
15)    You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It) [Alt. Version]
16)    Lullaby in Ragtime [Alt. Version]
17)    Always [Alt. Version]
18)    It Had to Be You [Alt. Version]
19)    I Want You to Sit on My Face
20)    Souvenir, A (Also Sprach Schmilsson Schmixon)
 

Album: The RCA Albums Collection
# Song Title   Time
1)    Ten Little Indians
2)    1941
3)    Cuddly Toy
4)    She Sang Hymns Out of Tune
5)    You Can't Do That
6)    Sleep Late, My Lady Friend
7)    She's Leaving Home
8)    There Will Never Be
9)    Without Her
10)    Freckles
11)    It's Been So Long
12)    River Deep Mountain High - (mono)
13)    Ten Little Indians - (mono)
14)    1941 - (mono)
15)    Cuddly Toy - (mono)
16)    She Sang Hymns Out of Tune - (mono)
17)    You Can't Do That - (mono)
18)    Sleep Late, My Lady Friend - (mono)
19)    She's Leaving Home - (mono)
20)    There Will Never Be - (mono)
21)    Without Her - (mono)
22)    Freckles - (mono)
23)    It's Been So Long - (mono)
24)    River Deep Mountain High - (mono)
1)    Daddy's Song
2)    Good Old Desk
3)    Don't Leave Me
4)    Mr. Richland's Favorite Song
5)    Little Cowboy
6)    Together
7)    Everybody's Talkin'
8)    I Said Goodbye to Me
9)    Little Cowboy
10)    Mr. Tinker
11)    One
12)    Wailing of the Willow, The
13)    Bath
14)    Daddy's Song
15)    Good Old Desk
16)    Don't Leave Me
17)    Mr. Richland's Favorite Song
18)    Little Cowboy
19)    Together
20)    Everybody's Talkin'
21)    I Said Goodbye to Me
22)    Little Cowboy
23)    Mr. Tinker
24)    One
25)    Wailing of the Willow, The
26)    Bath
27)    Aerial Ballet Radio Spot
1)    Puppy Song, The
2)    Nobody Cares About the Railroads Anymore
3)    Open Your Window
4)    Mother Nature's Son
5)    Fairfax Rag
6)    City Life
7)    Mournin' Glory Story
8)    Maybe
9)    Marchin' Down Broadway
10)    I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City
11)    Rainmaker
12)    Mr. Bojangles
13)    Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear
14)    I Will Take You There [Single Mix] - (remix)
15)    Waiting [From Jenny]
16)    Rainmaker [Single Mix] - (remix)
17)    Mournin' Glory Story [Single Mix] - (remix)
18)    Garbage Can Ballet [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
19)    Harry Radio Spot - (previously unreleased)
20)    Voices of Vista Radio Spots - (previously unreleased)
1)    Vine St.
2)    Love Story
3)    Yellow Man
4)    Caroline
5)    Cowboy
6)    Beehive State, The
7)    I'll Be Home
8)    Living Without You
9)    Dayton, Ohio 1903
10)    So Long Dad
11)    Snow
12)    Love Story [Alt. Version]
13)    Cowboy [Alt. Version]
14)    I'll Be Home [Alt. Version]
15)    Living Without You [Alt. Version]
1)    Everything's Got 'Em
2)    Town [Narration], The
3)    Me and My Arrow
4)    Game [Narration], The
5)    Poli High
6)    Trial and Banishment [Narration], The
7)    Think About Your Troubles
8)    Pointed Man [Narration], The
9)    Life Line
10)    Birds [Narration], The
11)    P.O.V. Waltz
12)    Clearing in the Woods [Narration], The
13)    Are You Sleeping?
14)    Oblio's Return [Narration]
15)    Think About Your Troubles [Alt. Version]
16)    Life Line [Alt. Version]
17)    Down to the Valley [Alt. Mix with Extended Ending]
18)    I'll Never Leave You
19)    Point Travel Brochure Radio Spot, The - (previously unreleased)
1)    Introduction
2)    1941 [Slowed Down, Remix] - (remix)
3)    Daddy's Song [New Vocals, Guitar & Piano out of Sync]
4)    Mr. Richland's Favorite Song [New Background Vocals, Remix] - (remix)
5)    Good Old Desk [Slowed Down, Remix] - (remix)
6)    Everybody's Talkin' [Second Voice Removed, Remix] - (remix)
7)    Bath [Re-Equalized]
8)    River Deep Mountain High [New Vocals, Remix] - (remix)
9)    Sleep Late, My Lady Friend [Remix] - (remix)
10)    Don't Leave Me [Remix] - (remix)
11)    Without Her [New Vocals, Remix] - (remix)
12)    Together [New Vocals, Bridge Edited Out, Remix] - (remix)
13)    One [Remix] - (remix)
14)    Closing
15)    You Can't Do That [Remix] - (remix)
16)    It's Been So Long [Italian Version] - (previously unreleased)
17)    Sleep Late, My Lady Friend [Italian Version] - (previously unreleased)
18)    Without Her [Italian Version] - (previously unreleased)
19)    Cuddly Toy [Italian Version] - (previously unreleased)
20)    You Can't Do That [Italian Version] - (previously unreleased)
21)    BBC Saturday Club Introduction - (previously unreleased)
22)    1941 [Live on BBC's Saturday Club] - (previously unreleased)
23)    Mr. Richland's Favorite Song [Live on BBC's Saturday Club] - (previously unreleased)
24)    Nilsson Talks with Brian Matthew - (previously unreleased)
25)    Together [Live on BBC's Saturday Club] - (previously unreleased)
26)    Good Old Desk [Live on BBC's Saturday Club] - (previously unreleased)
27)    Aerial Pandemonium Ballet Radio Spot - (previously unreleased)
1)    Gotta Get Up
2)    Driving Along
3)    Early in the Morning
4)    Moonbeam Song, The
5)    Down
6)    Without You
7)    Coconut
8)    Let the Good Times Roll
9)    Jump Into the Fire
10)    I'll Never Leave You
11)    Si No Estas Tu
12)    How Can I Be Sure of You
13)    Moonbeam Song, The
14)    Lamaze
15)    Old Forgotten Soldier
16)    Gotta Get Up [Alt. Version]
17)    Nisson Schmilsson Radio Spots
1)    Take 54
2)    Remember (Christmas)
3)    Joy
4)    Turn on Your Radio
5)    You're Breakin' My Heart
6)    Spaceman
7)    Lottery Song, The
8)    At My Front Door
9)    Ambush
10)    I'd Rather Be Dead
11)    Most Beautiful World in the World, The
12)    What's Your Sign?
13)    Take 54 [Alt. Version]
14)    Campo de Encino
15)    Daybreak [Single Version]
16)    It Had to Be You/I'd Rather Be Dead
17)    Son of Schmilsson Radio Spot
1)    Lazy Moon
2)    For Me and My Gal
3)    It Had to Be You
4)    Always
5)    Makin' Whoopee!
6)    You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)
7)    Lullaby in Ragtime
8)    I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now
9)    What'll I Do
10)    Nevertheless (I'm in Love with You)
11)    This Is All I Ask
12)    As Time Goes By
13)    I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
14)    Make Believe
15)    Trust in Me
16)    It's Only a Paper Moon
17)    Thanks for the Memory
18)    Over the Rainbow
1)    Many Rivers to Cross
2)    Subterranean Homesick Blues
3)    Don't Forget Me
4)    All My Life
5)    Old Forgotten Soldier
6)    Save the Last Dance for Me
7)    Mucho Mungo/Mt. Elga
8)    Loop De Loop
9)    Black Sails
10)    Rock Around the Clock
11)    Down by the Sea
12)    Flying Saucer Song, The
13)    Turn Out the Light
14)    Save the Last Dance for Me [Alt. Version]
15)    Don't Forget Me
16)    Black Sails - (previously unreleased)
17)    Pussy Cats Radio Spots - (previously unreleased)
1)    Jesus Christ You're Tall
2)    It's a Jungle Out There
3)    Down by the Sea
4)    Kojak Columbo
5)    Easier for Me
6)    Turn Out the Light
7)    Salmon Falls
8)    Puget Sound
9)    What's Your Sign?
10)    Home
11)    Good for God
12)    Goin' Down [Alt. Version]
1)    I'll Take a Tango
2)    Something True
3)    Pretty Soon There'll Be Nothing Left for Everybody
4)    Ivy Covered Walls, The
5)    Here's Why I Did Not Go to Work Today
6)    Flying Saucer Song, The
7)    How to Write a Song
8)    Jesus Christ You're Tall
9)    Will She Miss Me?
10)    Tree Out in the Yard, A (Central Park)
1)    That Is All
2)    Just One Look/Baby I'm Yours
3)    Moonshine Bandit
4)    I Need You
5)    Thousand Miles Away, A
6)    Sail Away
7)    She Sits Down on Me
8)    Daylight Has Caught Me
9)    Zombie Jamboree (Back to Back)
10)    That Is All (Reprise)
11)    That's the Way It Is Radio Spot
1)    All I Think About Is You
2)    I Never Thought I'd Get This Lonely
3)    Who Done It?
4)    Lean on Me
5)    Goin' Down
6)    Old Bones
7)    Sweet Surrender
8)    Blanket for a Sail
9)    Laughin' Man
10)    Perfect Day
11)    Ain't It Kinda Wonderful [From the World's Greatest Lover]
12)    Sweet Lorraine
13)    Shuffle Off to Buffalo
14)    Ballin' the Jack
15)    All I Think About Is You
16)    Knnillssonn Radio Spot
1)    1941 - (previously unreleased)
2)    World - (previously unreleased)
3)    Signs - (previously unreleased)
4)    Cuddly Toy - (previously unreleased)
5)    This Could Be the Night - (previously unreleased)
6)    As I Wander Lonely
7)    Family, The - (previously unreleased)
8)    Miss Butter's Lament
9)    Mr. Tinker [Alt. Version]
10)    Leggenda
11)    Sister Marie [Stereo Remix] - (remix)
12)    She Wandered Through the Garden Fence - (previously unreleased)
13)    One [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
14)    I Said Goodbye to Me [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
15)    Searchin' - (previously unreleased)
16)    She's Just Laughing at Me - (previously unreleased)
17)    Together [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
18)    Bath [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
1)    You Are Here
2)    Cast and Crew, The
3)    Garbage Can Ballet
4)    I Will Take You There
5)    Girlfriend (Theme from "the Courtship of Eddie's Father")
6)    Wasting My Time [Alt. Mix]
7)    Rainmaker [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
8)    Open Your Window [Alt. Take] - (previously unreleased, alternate take)
9)    Postcard - (previously unreleased)
10)    Think About Your Troubles [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
11)    Marry Me a Little - (previously unreleased)
12)    Ballin' the Jack - (previously unreleased)
13)    Gotta Get Up - (previously unreleased)
14)    Down to the Valley [Single Mix]
15)    Buy My Album [Single Mix]
16)    Joy [Alt. Version]
17)    Blackbird - (previously unreleased)
18)    Paradise - (previously unreleased)
19)    Lucille - (previously unreleased)
20)    Early in the Morning [Alt. Version]
1)    Walk Right Back
2)    Jump Into the Fire [Alt. Version] - (previously unreleased)
3)    Isolation
4)    Without You
5)    Driving Along
6)    Gotta Get Up
7)    Coconut
8)    Old Forgotten Soldier [Alt. Demo]
9)    Down
10)    Moonbeam Song [Alt. Demo], The
11)    Jump Into the Fire [Single Version]
12)    Per Chi
13)    Joy [Guitar Demo]
14)    Joy [Piano Demo]
15)    You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It) [Alt. Version]
16)    Lullaby in Ragtime [Alt. Version]
17)    Always [Alt. Version]
18)    It Had to Be You [Alt. Version]
19)    I Want You to Sit on My Face
20)    Souvenir, A (Also Sprach Schmilsson Schmixon)
 
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Performer Notes
  • Liner Note Author: Andrew Sandoval.
  • Harry Nilsson spent almost all of his rich, idiosyncratic, sometimes maddening career at RCA Records, releasing his bravura debut, Pandemonium Shadow Show, in 1967 and fading into the sunset with 1977's Knnillssonn. During those ten years, he released 14 albums and left behind a bunch of stray tracks, almost all of which are gathered on Legacy's massive and wonderful 2013 box The RCA Albums Collection. Every one of his albums is here, presented as mini-LP replicas and expanded with mono mixes, outtakes, demos, and alternate takes, many of which previously appeared on turn-of-the-millennium reissues by Buddha and Camden, but there are also three full discs of rarities, adding up to 123 total bonus tracks, 55 of which are seeing their first release here. Notably, the five-song demo session that convinced the Monkees to record "Cuddly Toy" (and also includes Harry's only version of "This Could Be the Night," an early song co-written with Phil Spector) sees its first official release, but there are many other wonderful little gems scattered throughout the session discs.
  • Those are the necessary, enticing details for collectors, but concentrating on rarities at the expense of the big picture isn't the way to approach The RCA Albums Collection, as this allows the work of one of pop's true eccentric geniuses to be appreciated in its entirety. Nilsson's career divides into two parts, the first tracing the rise of an L.A. studio genius who rode several lucky breaks on the road to becoming a respected and successful songwriter; the second finding Harry ditching almost everything that came before in a successful attempt to indulge his every whim. Usually, the first act overshadows the second, as their attributes are more readily apparent. It's easy to hear the intelligence behind the songwriting and the intricately arranged productions of his work from 1967-1971, whereas the second seven LPs take some work on the listener's part, but the continuum offered by The RCA Albums Collection reveals that these often-derided albums wind up seeming stronger than their rep. Nilsson's relentless wit shines through, albeit often in bawdier form than before, and his musical acumen remains sharp. The only thing missing is that wondrous, pure voice, one which legendarily scaled three-and-a-half octaves and was worn down by Harry's relentless demons, but he was a smart singer, so he knew how to harness his hoarseness to his advantage, at least in the studio. Then again, Nilsson was a creature of the studio, a vocalist who never gave a concert, a songwriter who polished everything within the confines of multi-million dollar recording emporiums. He benefitted from the system then swindled it, creating recordings that evoked and influenced the times and, in doing so, transcended them as well. Seventeen discs may be an enormous undertaking, and admittedly some of the road is rocky, but the journey Harry Nilsson takes on The RCA Albums Collection is distinctive and thrilling, whether it's heard for the first or 40th time. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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