Dan Fogelberg – The Definitive Anthology (review)

Dan Fogelberg – The Definitive Anthology (Real Gone) review

The guitar duel between Fogelberg and Joe Walsh is worth the price alone

Fiery rockers, sweeping, string-laden ballads, and quiet acoustic numbers – singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg could do it all at his peak.  The Definitive Anthology, a new, two-disc collection, brings together 28 examples of the multi-faceted artist.

The accompanying booklet gives a track by track listing of who played what, and the first thing you notice is that Fogelberg played just about every instrument, besides drums, on most of his hits.  But, he also had a knack for inviting guests at just the right moment, elevating a good song to greatness.  Take, for example, Tom Scott’s sax on “Hard to Say,” or the addition of the UCLA band to “Leader of the Band.”He also had an uncanny ability to single-handedly reproduce the multi-part harmonies of bands like Crosby, Stills & Nash.  Other times, he’d bring in a famous vocalist, as in Don Henley on “The Power of Gold,” or Graham Nash on “Part of the Plan” to assist in harmonies.

The discs are not in chronological order, making it difficult to assess Fogelberg’s growth as an artist.  But, it does make for a more enjoyable listen.   Honestly, his latter-day material either sounds forced, as in the “Big Eighties” production of “She Don’t Look Back,” or sappy.

There have been several good single discs to collect Fogelberg’s music.  But, with two discs, you get to dig deeper into his true scope as an artist.  “Phoenix” rocks surprisingly hard, and despite clocking in at over seven minutes, it never lags.  “As the Raven Flies” features a fine guitar duel between Fogelberg and Joe Walsh.  Of his latter-day recordings, “Rhythm of the Rain,” a cover of the old Fifties’ tune by the Cascades, is the best of the bunch.

The Definitive Anthology is an excellent overview of a multi-talented artist.  —Tony Peters