The Dave Dobbyn Collection

Th' Dudes, DD Smash & Dave Dobbyn

Festival (1992)

CD: D30733




Song List

1. Be Mine Tonight
2. Lipstick Power
3. Devil You Know
4. Solo
5. Repetition
6. Outlook for Thursday
7. Magic What she Do
8. Whaling
9. Guilty Thru Neglect
10. Slice of Heaven
11. Oughta be in Love
12. Loyal
13. Love You Like I Should
14. Stay
THE 14 songs in the Collection span roughly ten years and five albums, from th' Dudes Right First Time in 1979 to Loyal in 1988. They are sequenced chronologically, which helps demonstrate DD's musical growth during the 1980's. There are some marvellous pop songs here. At a minimum, I count four of them as all-time classics, up there with my favorite Crowded House & Finn tunes.

A couple of good subtitles for this album might be, "A Portrait of theArtist in Search of His (True) Voice" or "My Life as an NZ Hitmaker." These suggested subtitles summarise my major misgivings about "The DD Collection." The first is that DD's gift for mimicking different vocal styles is a distraction. On some songs, he just sounds like he's trying too hard. On others, he seems to be so busy imitating some well-known singer that it's tough to appreciate the music -- which is often good. On the first two-thirds of the CD, I heard DD apeing, at various times, David Bowie, Billy Joel and, believe it or not, Prince.

My second misgiving is that too many of the songs struggle to be heard against 1980's-era production values and formulaic musical arrangements. (Maybe that's just a given for a greatest hits collection from the '80's!) But with the older tunes, I kept thinking to myself, "Dave wrote a great song here, with good lyrics and a good melody. Too bad the arrangement doesn't match the quality of the song." This is NOT true for the last half-dozen songs, which demonstrates how much DD learned about arranging over the years. In them, I hear the seeds for Lament for the Numb and Twist.

For someone who grew up listening to Dudes/DD Smash/Dobbyn on the radio, my criticisms may sound like blasphemy. For them, the DD Collection probably sounds like a personal soundtrack to their lives...

[excerpt edited from Rob Field's "Umm" post, during the Collection thread.]

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