There really are more War best-of packages than the situation warrants, and while the double-CD The Very Best of War is a fine compilation if you don't already have one in your collection, it's questionable whether it was a necessary addition to the band's discography. For one thing, it doesn't differ all that much from the previous two-CD War best-of on Rhino, Anthology (1970-1994). Sure, each has a few tracks not on the other, but both are built around their lengthy string of big hits. Even Barry Alfonso's accompanying essay was adapted from the liner notes to Anthology (1970-1994). Still, this does have all of the big chart hits and a few minor ones, as well as standout album tracks from throughout the 1970s and early '80s that illustrate the band's versatility. Reading the small print on the track listings, it's revealed that half a dozen of these cuts are edits that either appear here for the first time or were only available on previous anthologies or imports.
The Story So Far: The Very Best of Rod Stewart is a 2001 Rod Stewart career-retrospective compilation album, which summarizes his solo work beginning with material from his 1971 breakthrough album Every Picture Tells a Story until his 2001 album Human. For contractual reasons, only two songs from his Mercury Records tenure ("Maggie May" and "You Wear It Well") were included (a third song from the Mercury era, "Reason to Believe", was included in a live acoustic version from the Warner Bros. album Unplugged…and Seated). The rest of the material is from different albums released under Warner Bros. Records…
The U.K. collection The Very Best of Michael Bolton – initially released in 2005, repackaged as a slide pack in 2007 – is a good overview of the singer's peak years, containing all the big hits except "Love Is a Wonderful Thing" (only natural, considering the lawsuit surrounding the song) in a 17-track compilation that should give most listeners all the Bolton they need.
The 40 tracks compiled on this two-disc set represent the entire span of pianist and singer Leroy Carr's recording career that spanned a brief seven years, from 1928-1935. The material represented here – all but one of these tracks were recorded for the Vocalion label – features accompaniment by guitarist Scrapper Blackwell on all but one selection, and Josh White on a handful as well. Carr's material here ranges from the classic piano blues of the era that spawned Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith to vaudeville and hokum tunes made popular by artists like Tampa Red and Georgia Tom. Carr's voice is the haunting thing here; it's higher and very clear, sweet almost, as evidenced by most of these sides. But there was an edge, too; one that belied a kind of pathos underneath even the most cheery material – check "Mean Mistreater Blues" or "Bread Baker." But the darker material such as "Suicide Blues" (one of six previously unissued performances), "Straight Alky Blues," or "Shinin' Pistol," is strange and eerie given Carr's smooth approach. Carr may not be the most well-known bluesman of the era, but his contribution is profound and lasting. This collection puts to shame almost all others with the exception of the multi-volume complete recordings on Document.