Kenny Rogers compilations tend to drift in and out of print, yet in a sense it doesn't matter much, because most featured most of the big hits. However, very few contained them all and, as of 2004, the only collection in print that contained all his big hits, from the First Edition through the mid-'80s, was 1999's four-disc box set Through the Years, which was too exhaustive for all but dedicated Rogers fans. So, there was a need for a new, relatively concise collection that featured all the hits; hence Capitol's 42 Ultimate Hits, a double-disc set that spans Kenny's entire career, from the First Edition to two new tracks, including a duet with Whitney Duncan.
It's rare to find artists returning with the same personnel time after time. For reasons sometimes artistic—a diversity of stylistic concerns, the desire to work with a variety of players—and sometimes business-driven—concern that using the same people, album after album, will engender complacency, the challenge of retaining a consistent lineup—many artists' body of work is characterized by a constant flux in direction and personnel. While such variation may over time ultimately reveal a deeper musical philosophy in the hands of artists with vision—certainly Pat Metheny, Dave Douglas, and Louis Sclavis fit that description—those less focused run the risk of appearing eclectic with no apparent purpose.