Japan exclusive release, Eddie Higgins Trio: Essential Ballads Best was released on March 30, 2010 on the Venus label. Essential Ballads Best CD music contains a single disc.
Jimmy Thackery's eight CDs for the Blind Pig label rank with the finest work of his career. A passionate blues guitarist and an effective singer, Thackery brings creativity and a freshness to his renditions of blues, blues ballads, and near-blues. This sampler draws its 13 selections from the eight releases, putting the emphasis on the leader. Thackery is heard in guitar-bass-drums trios for eight of the selections and joined by various guests (including one appearance apiece by guitarists Lonnie Brooks, Duke Robillard, and John Mooney) on the other five tracks. The Essential Jimmy Thackery lives up to its name and serves as a perfect introduction to the bluesman's music.
There are almost more Petula Clark collections than there were actual songs (that's saying something), and Sanctuary's three-disc Songs of My Life: The Essential Petula Clark is one of the better ones. Split into three themes, "Swinging Times," "Mellow Moods," and "Beautiful Sounds," Songs of My Life relies heavily on the English pop sensation's peak '60s and '70s output. All of the key radio hits are here ("Downtown," "I Know a Place," "My Love," "This Is My Song"), as well as countless ballads, uptempo pop gems, and choice covers. Fans looking for a decent career overview (sadly, none of Clark's vast arsenal of French hits are here) may find the 78 tracks that populate Songs of My Life a bit overwhelming, but they're well worth spending some quality time alone with.
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.
The Essential Bruce Springsteen is a compilation album by Bruce Springsteen, released on 11 November 2003. Per liner notes comments by Springsteen, the collection was intended as an introduction to his music for new fans who attended shows on The Rising Tour; hence, it includes songs from every Springsteen album since his debut. The album was available as a 2-disc set and, later, as a limited edition 3-disc set; for the latter, the third disc contained a selection of rarities and previously unreleased recordings.
Like spandex pants, pyrotechnics, and concept records, the power ballad is as essential to a proper hard-rockin' band as a mid-concert guitar or drum solo. Giving the band a moment to show its sensitive side was just as important as the hardest song on the album, striking a balance and making the music accessible to those who like a little love in their rock. A time-honored tradition since the '70s, this two-disc compilation is not just a reasonably priced two-disc session, it's an anthropological barometer mapping the evolution of the power ballad. Metal love song compilations come and go, but never has this song style been so meticulously documented so well. Every single important moment in the history of power ballads is included in this 30-song session.