Loggins & Messina: Jim Messina, Kenny Loggins (vocals, guitar).
Personnel: Chris Brooks (koto); Al Garth (violin, fiddle, viola, recorder, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, horns, steel drum, background vocals); Jon Clarke (alto flute, bass flute, recorder, bass clarinet, oboe, saxophone, horns, steel drum); Michael Omartian (concertina, piano, Clavinet, organ, keyboards, steel drum); Don Roberts (horns); David Wallace (synthesizer); Merle Brigante (drums, background vocals); Vince Charles (steel drum); Victor Feldman, Milt Holland (percussion); Larry Sims (background vocals).
Additional personnel: David Paich (keyboards); Larry Sims (bass guitar); Merel Bregante (drums, background vocals); Victor Feldman, David Wallace, Al Garth, Michael Omartian, Milt Holland, Jon Clarke, Don Roberts , Chris Brooks.
Liner Note Author: David Wild.
Photographers: Ed Caraeff; Bruce Ditchfield; Suzen Carson; Tyler Thornton; Urve Kuusik; Sandy Speiser.
Hard to believe, but it's been nearly 30 years since Loggins & Messina have had their five albums compiled into a greatest-hits collection. The first, Best of Friends, appeared in 1976, just after the partnership went its separate ways, and this second set, The Best: Sittin' in Again, appeared in the summer of 2005 to coincide with a reunion tour. On the back cover of the CD, Messina is quoted as saying that "this album is about more than hits," with Loggins elaborating that he wants "this new retrospective to accurately depict who Loggins & Messina was." To that end, Sittin' in Again does indeed overlook some hits, including "My Music" and "Thinking of You" -- two Top 20 hits that appeared on Best of Friends -- plus the 1975 "Growin'," one of their last charting hits; similarly, the winding full-length LP version of "Angry Eyes" is here instead of the single edit. While the absent hits are indeed missed, the majority of the duo's biggest songs are indeed here -- "Your Mama Don't Dance," "House at Pooh Corner," "Danny's Song," "Vahevala" -- and there's a strong emphasis on their first two records (six of the nine songs on their 1972 debut, Sittin' In, are here, six of the 11 cuts from its eponymous 1972 follow-up), which are their best LPs (it's no coincidence that there's nothing here from their poorly regarded final album, 1976's Native Sons). Although some listeners will certainly miss those aforementioned two big hit singles, Sittin' in Again nevertheless is a strong summary of Loggins & Messina's strengths, capturing them at their best as a tuneful soft rock duo. It emphasizes Messina's skills as a record producer and Loggins' folky, introspective songwriting, while revealing such usually overlooked traits in their music such as some country overtones and a tendency toward subtly eclectic, laid-back jams, which is why this is arguably the definitive portrait of the duo, even if it skimps on some actual charting hits. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine