Eagles Box (WSM / Elektra)
Reviewed by Scott Jordan, Fri., May 27, 2005
Eagles Box (WSM/Elektra)
The FM radio kings of the Seventies were made for the medium. Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Timothy B. Schmit inherited the Byrds' SoCal vocal crown with sun-drenched harmonies on early staples "Take It Easy" and "One of These Nights," and when axemen Don Felder and Joe Walsh got on board in 1975, the result was the cleanest, most melodic guitar duels since Dickey Betts and Duane Allman painted "Blue Sky." By the time the band perfected its lyrical brew of tequila sunrises, border sex, and life in the fast lane, the Eagles' narcissism was transparent; the band broke up after 1980's bloated catalog filler Eagles Live, though the vocal majesty of "Seven Bridges Road" was a final glimpse of Henley & Co.'s potent pipes. (The juggernaut was revived with a '94 reunion album and Hell Freezes Over tour, which set new standards for exorbitant ticket prices.) Eagles Box collects all seven of the band's pre-reunion LPs on individual discs in a limited-edition set (20,000 copies) that reproduces the original album artwork, including gatefold sleeves, and marks the digital debut of the holiday singles "Please Come Home for Christmas" and "Funky New Year." The package contains no supplemental booklet or new liner notes, a puzzling move considering the quality benchmark set by similar reissue projects like the Grateful Dead's The Golden Road (1965-1973). It's a missed opportunity to put the Eagles' canon in context, especially given the lineup changes and stylistic tune-ups the band underwent in its formative years. With a suggested $129 retail price, Eagles Box gives "Take It to the Limit" a whole new meaning.