Livin' Lovin' Rockin' Rollin': The 25th Anniversary Collection

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Alabama.gif

The final notes of Alabama's "Farewell Tour" have rung out, and the quartet has just been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. So it's a perfect time to step back and assess the legacy that country's most successful group leaves behind.

This new box set helps us to do just that. The handful of previously unreleased live tracks here demonstrates the band's onstage expansiveness, while the careful sequencing helps to draw out the recurring themes in Alabama's catalog: sympathy for the working class, regional pride and a disinterest in country hallmarks like drinking and cheating songs in favor of a relentless positivity. (The latter eventually proves wearying on the saccharine-laden second CD, which focuses on the group's ballads.)

This shouldn't be anyone's first Alabama purchase—many essential hits are missing, replaced by band favorites and rarities. But for longtime fans, Livin' Lovin' Rockin' Rollin' will be a revelation.

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