Moby Grape: Listen My Friends! The Best of Moby Grape


Listen My Friends, a twenty track Moby Grape compilation, is arguably superior to the now out-of-print double-cd Vintage simply because this one focuses solely on the group’s strengths.

The progression of Moby Grape sounds eminently natural as they evolve from three-guitar interplay and five-part harmony singing in “Hey Grandma” to the baroque psychedelia, “Can’t Be So Bad” and “He” of their first two albums. The folk and country oriented material that comprised cuts from ’69 and Truly Fine Citizen, such as “Ain’t That A Shame” are of a piece with “8:05” and “Sitting by the Window,” from the universally lauded eponymous debut. The eminently smooth transitions of style (the blues a steadfast component all the while), would confound anyone ignorant of the band’s friction-fraught dynamics, just another trait they shared with their higher-profile Los Angeles peers The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield.

Moby Grape’s music evolved coincidental with the group’s slow disintegration. Dysfunction aggravated by record company hype and run-ins with the law, losing members along the way, the group nevertheless kept progressing, retaining its own artistic compass, with tracks such as “Bitter Wind” and “Indifference.” ”If You Can’t Learn from My Mistakes” is also proof positive Moby Grape maintained a cohesive front even as the band shrank to a trio. They continued to record and tour almost methodically while documenting, in original material like “Changes, Circles Spinning,” the turmoil they endured as individuals and a group.

Listen My Friends is the first release since Moby Grape reclaimed rights to its discography from long-standing legal entanglement and it stands not just as a testament to the durability of the band’s music but their own deserved loyalty to it.

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