Columbia has managed to squeeze an impressive, perhaps excessive, number of compilations out of Janis Joplin's relatively slim body of recordings. With this two-CD set, The Essential Janis Joplin, the label's at it again, though it's a good one to get if you don't want to collect all the Joplin releases, and certainly don't want to get the expensive Joplin boxes, but want more than what fits onto a single disc. Including both solo recordings and highlights of her stint with Big Brother & the Holding Company, it has all the songs fans and critics would consider milestones in her career: "Ball and Chain" (a version recorded live in 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival, not the more familiar one from Cheap Thrills), "Piece of My Heart," "Down on Me," "Summertime," "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)," "Tell Mama" (the live 1970 performance from the expanded edition of Pearl), "Get It While You Can," "Mercedes Benz," and "Me and Bobby McGee." And there are also good tracks that aren't as overly familiar, like "Coo Coo," "Misery'n," "Maybe," "Work Me, Lord," and "A Woman Left Lonely."
Guitarist and singer-songwriter Adelmo Fornaciari, better known by the moniker Zucchero, built a following in his native Italy with his unique brand of adult contemporary pop–a following that expanded internationally as his career progressed. Zucchero's sound blends radio-ready melodies with equal doses of rock, blues, and a light, often mellow feel on his ballads and love songs. ALL THE BEST is a re-release of the artist's 1996 hits collection. Geared specifically to American audiences, this release of ALL THE BEST includes some of Zucchero's best-loved tunes (such as "Senza Una Donna" and "Wonderful Life"), and wonderful guest performances from the likes of Paul Young, Miles Davis, and Luciano Pavarotti.