Pros:20 great Alan Jackson songs for one low price
Cons:The Chattahoochee extended cut isn’t as good as the original
The Bottom Line: For a “greatest hits” album put out after Jackson had only released 4 CDs, this one is actually pretty fantastic
Alan Jackson is widely regarded as one of the biggest names in country music during the 1990’s (and since). So popular was he that after only five years on the country scene, Jackson was able to release Alan Jackson: The Greatest Hits Collection in 1995. While this would seem premature or even ridiculous for some artists, his selection of hits actually merited such an album, which just happened to be one of the first country greatest hits albums I every bought.
The CD consists of 20 songs, with 18 being previously released songs off of his first four albums and 2 being new songs written specifically for this album. Both new songs went on to become #1 hits for Jackson, showing how strong the album was, which would go on to become certified platinum 6 times over. The playlist for the CD breaks down as follows:
1. Chattahoochee (Extended Mix)
2. Gone Country
3. She’s Got The Rhythm (And I Got The Blues)
4. Midnight In Montgomery
5. Tall, Tall Trees
6. Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow
7. I’ll Try
8. Don’t Rock The Jukebox
9. Livin’ On Love
10. Summertime Blues
11. Love’s Got A Hold On You
12. (Who Says) You Can’t Have It All
15. I Don’t Even Know Your Name
17. Here In The Real World
19. Mercury Blues
20. I’d Love You All Over Again
The album certainly doesn’t scrimp on content, clocking in at over an hour and containing the vast majority of not only Jackson’s released singles from his first four albums, but also almost everything worth listening to from said CDs. Generally, I prefer a “greatest hits” album to be over a larger section of an artist’s career and feature only their major highlights. Here, Jackson goes in a different direction, basically scraping away the unnecessary gristle from his first four offerings, leaving only the necessary titles that one would need to enjoy the first five years of his career. It is something we can all do nowadays with iTunes and recordable CDs and whatnot, but Jackson saved his fans the work and made his first four albums completely irrelevant here, making me a happy camper.
The songs offered are nearly all hits in their own right, as the title implies, with nothing that can be complained about too much in the way of being unnecessary. If there was one complaint to be made, it would be that the version of “Chattahoochee” that is included is not the original album or radio releases, but instead an unnecessary extended cut that provides nothing in the way of additional content but does damage the flow of the song a bit. Seeing as how I was never a fan of the original song, it didn’t bother me too much, but I can see others disliking it.
For me, the highlights of the album (much like the highlights of all of Jackson’s music) are the slower tempo-ed songs focusing on relationships. “Dallas”, “Wanted”, “Someday” and “I’d Love You All Over Again”, while not as popular or memorable as “Gone Country” or “I Don’t Even Know Your Name”, have an emotional edge and depth that puts them at the top of the list in my opinion. Still, there are offerings of popular hits with a faster beat like “Mercury Blues” as well for those looking for something with a little more kick. The album literally has something for everyone.
Overall, this album delivers every step of the way, providing over an hour of great country music from one of the best artists in the genre of the past 25 years. If is a must have for any Alan Jackson fan who doesn’t already have his 34 Number Ones album, which carries many of the same songs. It is also a great album for any country music fan looking for something with a more traditional feel than today’s pop-centric sound.
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