I bought this compilation as a sort of consolation prize. Some time ago I made the horrific blunder of passing on the “36 All-time Favorites” album and when I realized what I had done it was too late. They had already sold it, and the chances of seeing it again in Uruguay are non-existent. So, when I came across this anthology I had to go for it.
As a compilation, this is not really bad. It gives you a clear indication of the man’s brilliance. It does not, however, give you an indication of his scope. You wouldn’t know he was capable of crafting albums like “Twin Sons of Different Mothers” or “High Country Snows” by merely listening to this.
Still, it is impossible to dislike a CD that has all the four singles from “The Innocent Age” (“Leader Of The Band”, “Run For The Roses”, “Same Old Lang Syne” and “Hard To Say”).
“Love Songs” also has the (somehow) rare “Make Love Stay”, a song that was featured for the first time on a 1982 retrospective. Along with the songs from “The Innocent Age”, it is my favorite cut on this compilation. These five songs showcase a delicacy that is limitless (“Run For The Roses”) and an ability to sing what the public needs to listen to as if it were what they want to listen to. Fogelberg can make isolated episodes (like the one in the autobiographical “Same Old Lang Syne”) stand ten times more compelling that the full story, and he can also make full stories (“Leader Of The Band”) feel like a self-contained episode by expressing a single sentiment so predominantly – in the case of “Leader Of The Band”, a song that narrates a person’s full life (his father’s) is gloriously summarized by a single feeling. The words “I love you” are spoken only at the end, but they are already formed as the first notes are played, and they are more than palpable when Dan sings the very first line.
I can’t recommend this CD over any other compilation of Dan’s. The one and only context it would work splendidly is if the other person is already well-acquainted with Fogelberg’s output, and all that you want to do is give her a birthday or a St. Valentine’s gift. In that case, this beats the most expensive mink you could ever find.