Legacy’s 2010 collection The Essential Highwaymen doesn’t merely cover recordings made by the supergroup of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson, it rounds up selections from their solo albums of the ‘70s, ‘80s, ’90s, and 2000s. Specifically, these selections are written by other members of the group, so the net effect is a generous 36-track collection of Highwaymen highlights in all forms, drawing a more detailed portrait of their crossed paths than any individual album by the supergroup.
The Essential Cheap Trick is the fourth compilation album by Cheap Trick, and part of Sony BMG's The Essential series. It contains at least one song from every album up to Special One (including Silver), except the commercial failure The Doctor. A reissue in 2010 described as version 3.0 added a 3rd disc with seven additional songs.
The Essential Philip Glass is a three-disc 2012 compilation not to be confused with the single-disc 1993 album, The Essential Philip Glass. The tracks from both are taken from previous Sony releases. Two of the discs of the 2012 set are made up of single tracks from a number of albums, including Songs from Liquid Days, Glassworks, the film score Naqoyqatsi, the ballet In the Upper Room, and the choral-orchestral piece Itaipu. Stylistically the music represents a fairly narrow range in Glass' career; all the music except for Naqoyqatsi is from the 1980s. There is variety in the musical forces used; the Philip Glass Ensemble led by Michael Riesman figures prominently, but there are also pieces that use chorus, vocalists, and piano. Linda Ronstadt, Yo-Yo Ma, the Kronos Quartet, and Glass himself are among the distinguished soloists.
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."
A fine overview of Rory's career as a solo artist (after his short time in the band Taste) with rock and blues highlights…
The 2006 release of The Essential Gloria Estefan satisfied a long unmet need for a career-spanning English-language retrospective, one that includes the singer's popular hits with Miami Sound Machine in the mid-'80s as well as her subsequent solo recordings. For years, Estefan fans had few best-of choices to choose from – the Spanish-language Exitos de Gloria Estefan (1990), the two-volume Greatest Hits series (1992, 2001), and the latter-day Amor y Suerte: Exitos Romanticos collection (2004) – with no alternatives, not even budget-line knockoffs. The long-overdue release of The Essential Gloria Estefan thankfully resolved this gripe, for it includes the highlights from all aspects of Estefan's varied output, spread generously across two jam-packed discs.
Albert Lee has played with Eric Clapton, the Everly Brothers, Rosanne Cash, and many others. He is also a recording artist in his own right, having released four critically acclaimed albums, two of which were nominated for Grammy Awards. His speed, phrasing, feel, and choice of notes have earned him the reputationias the premier country guitarist. Highlights features Albert Lee at his best, playing some of his favorite tunes and original compositions and analyzing his baffling technique in depth. Using dozens of practical examples, Albert runs the gamut of country guitar stylings, including intros and endings, banjo-style picking, double-stop runs, and creating long seamless runs based off chord shapes, including a section on mimicking a pedal-steel guitar. There are numerous hot performances with his band.
When the Hollies – one of the best and most commercially successful pop/rock acts of the British Invasion – began recording in 1963, they relied heavily upon the R&B/early rock & roll covers that provided the staple diet for countless British bands of the time. They quickly developed a more distinctive style featuring three-part harmonies (heavily influenced by the Everly Brothers), ringing guitars, and hook-happy material, penned by both outside writers…