- Despite the similarity in titles, the 2005 anthology Dream a Little Dream of Me: The Music of Mama Cass Elliot is an entirely different best-of than the 1997 Elliot compilation Dream a Little Dream: The Cass Elliot Collection. There are a surprising number of differences between the two releases, considering that Elliot didn't record all that much as a solo act. The 2005 best-of has more music (23 cuts, where the 1997 one has 18), and despite its shorter length, the 1997 anthology has eight tracks not on the subsequent compilation (though two of those are just dialogue). Too, the 1997 CD has a track from Elliot's pre-Mamas & the Papas group the Big Three, though nothing from the Mamas & the Papas; the 2005 one has a sole Mamas & the Papas cut (the hit "Words of Love") and, unlike the 1997 counterpart, a song from Elliot's album with Dave Mason ("Here We Go Again"). Both have her three big solo hits, "Dream a Little Dream of Me," "Make Your Own Kind of Music," and "It's Getting Better." The 2005 collection has the edge by virtue of its greater length, though it won't be totally redundant if you already have the 1997 best-of. Like the previous release, however, Dream a Little Dream of Me: The Music of Mama Cass Elliot is not as good a representation of Elliot's talents as her Mamas & the Papas recordings. It's missing ("Words of Love" excepted) the songs of John Phillips, for one thing, but also documents the strong-voiced Elliot's drift toward slightly garish middle-of-the-road pop productions, with a bent for material close in flavor to pre-rock Tin Pan Alley. That's not true of everything here; John Hartford's "California Earthquake" has some guts, the less impressive cover of Richard Manuel's "Blues for Breakfast" gets into barroom blues, and the rendition of Bobby Darin's "I'll Be There" is one of her stronger outings. Also included are some bizarre previously unreleased radio jingles for the Hardee's fast-food chain. ~ Richie Unterberger
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