I Could Be Happy: The Best of Altered Images is an excellent, thorough collection covering all of the highlights from the band's three albums, adding several non-LP singles for good measure. All of the group's hits – "Happy Birthday," "I Could Be Happy," "See Those Eyes," "Love and Kisses" – are presented, usually in their single versions, plus many fine album tracks, making I Could Be Happy a definitive retrospective.
The revamped 1995 edition of Anthology includes all of the group's hit singles, as well as significant album tracks and singles that didn't chart, making it the definitive portrait of the popular, groundbreaking urban contemporary group.
This Irish female vocal quartet sings beautifully, but its aggressively eclectic repertoire sometimes works against it. The best and worst of the group's approach are both in evidence on this album, which features traditional material like "Aililiu Na Gamhna" and "She Moved Through the Fair," alongside covers of songs by Neil Young ("Love Is a Rose"), Julia Fordham (the title track), and Sting ("Fragile"). It's the folkier material that comes off the best – on "Aililiu Na Gamhna" and "Tha Mullad" the backing harmonies add richness and complexity to the traditional tune, and the group's arrangement of "She Moved Through the Fair" is spare and lovely.
Beginning with his self-titled debut in 1970, Ry Cooder's records seemed to be as much history lesson as they were entertainment. Not because Cooder was trying to club you over the head with this stuff; he simply gravitated to great songs, no matter what the era or genre. Released in 1978, Jazz seems to be his first conscious attempt at a concept album, in the historical sense. Here he pays homage to some of the early tunes and masters of jazz, ranging from the late 1800s through the "coon songs" of the early part of the next century, to the ragtime and "Spanish" music of Jelly Roll Morton, and the sophistication of cornetist Bix Beiderbecke. The only living artist (at the time of release) who's represented here is the great Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence, who recorded from the '50s through the '80s, and whose syncopated style was extremely influential in Cooder's own development as a guitarist.