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Raspberries 

Greatest (Capitol)

Sparked by their 2004 reunion, this Raspberries compilation presents 20 tunes that continue to stick after more than 30 years. The third Raspberries collection in a decade and a half, its main selling point is the usual: remastering.

Eric Carmen's alluring androgynous voice, Wally Bryson's powerhouse guitar, Jim Bonfanti's determined drumming, and the dexterous bass of Dave Smalley drive "Go All the Way." Carmen, Bryson, bassist Michael Bride, and drummer Scott McCarl push the marvelously solipsistic "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)."

The Raspberries' determination and range made them special. Even if Carmen overextended himself on such "pocket-symphony" tunes (the term is Brian Wilson's) as "I Can Remember" and "I Don't Know What I Want," his reach was exciting. Experts at rock convention, the Raspberries crafted music that narrowly avoided cliché. They are a second-generation pop group whose music continues to evoke the notion of summer on the North Coast, when warmth and Cleveland briefly coexist.

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More by Carlo Wolff

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