With their beautiful harmony vocals and gentle melodies, Peter, Paul & Mary were the most popular folk act of the 1960s. While Bob Dylan was unquestionably the genre's most influential and revered performer by the mid-1960s, it was Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers who helped him to reach a larger audience with their accessible '63 renditions of his "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." In addition to Dylan, the group also championed the work of Gordon Lightfoot and John Denver, most notably with the wanderlust tales "For Lovin' Me" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (a runaway hit in '69), respectively.
All of the aforementioned tunes are presented on THE VERY BEST OF PETER, PAUL & MARY, a 25-track set carefully compiled by the trio itself. This 2005 collection focuses almost exclusively on the '60s and '70s work of PP&M, with the exception of the deceptively breezy "El Salvador" (from '86) and 2003's "Don't Laugh at Me," which finds the threesome in fine voice more than 40 years after the group was founded in New York City's Greenwich Village. Also included are three early-'70s solo tracks–one apiece by Yarrow, Stookey, and Travers–rounding out this wonderfully selected disc, which is a must for any folk collection.
Peter, Paul & Mary: Noel "Paul" Stookey, Peter Yarrow (vocals, acoustic guitar); Mary Travers (vocals).
Recording information: 1962 - 2003.Dirty Linen (p.85) - "It's fun to see the group really lay its politics on the line in 'El Salvador,' and 'Weave Me the Sunshine' is as vibrant as anything Peter, Paul, and Mary ever recorded."
"Hard to believe, but Capitol's 2008 collection Idolize Yourself: The Very Best of Billy Idol is only the second Billy Idol hits album to be released in America, following the first – 2001's Greatest Hits – by just seven years. [~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide]
The first five chronologically sequenced tracks of this compilation mirror the rise of the smooth-jazz radio phenomenon. "So Amazing," "Bermuda Nights," "In the Mood," "My, My, My," and "Anniversary" are all still staples of the format. Released between 1987 and 1990, all (except the second one) are covers of popular R&B tunes, and they still sound fresh. These songs alone make this an excellent collection for smooth-jazz fans. Starting with his fifth album, Live at Birdland West, the exciting tenor saxophonist became a little more adventurous, often completely crossing that broad line that separates smooth jazz from contemporary electric jazz. Two duets–one with Lee Ritenour, "G & Lee," and "Boss of Nova," with Joe Sample–are two examples of his playing that sets Albright apart from most saxophonists who are tagged with the smooth-jazz label. Serious Albright fans may not appreciate the absence of his popular duets with his frequent partner, vocalist Will Downing, but that aside, this is a worthy summation of Albright's successful tenure at Atlantic Records.
Since Rhino released an exhaustive four-disc ZZ Top box in October 2003, some may question the appearance of a double-disc retrospective in June 2004, a mere eight months after the box set. The two may be released awfully close to each other, but they do play to different audiences – in other words, there are a bunch of fans who want all the hits, but not a full box set, and that's what the 38-track Rancho Texicano: The Very Best of ZZ Top delivers…