With so many Kris Kristofferson collections featuring basically the same material already available, it's questionable why the compilers felt it was necessary to repackage these songs again into this 2001 disc. What's especially frustrating is as of this release, there still was not a comprehensive multi-label Kristofferson compilation. While the bulk of his best-known material was recorded for Monument in the '70s, he's had a smattering of hits for other labels in the decades since. Even tracks from Monument's belatedly released live album, recorded at a New York City concert in 1972, aren't included here, making this an adequate but extremely disappointing compilation of well-worn Kristofferson classics. That said, for those unaware of the charms of the country singer/songwriter's early recordings, this is a sufficient introduction, as these 18 tracks include almost everything of significance Kristofferson recorded during the '70s. His gritty talk-singing on classics like "Why Me?" and "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down" recalls Waylon Jennings and perfectly meshes with his tales of down and outers, life on the skids, and characters with little left to lose. The bulk of his best songs during these years are ballads, which infuse this album with a rather bleak, samey atmosphere, especially when they are programmed next to each other. Only the barroom romp of the Shel Silverstein collaboration "How Do You Feel About Foolin' Around?," one of this set's least engaging tunes, lightens the mood. Although Billboard chart position information is welcome, the lack of any musician credits is troublesome, making this a less satisfying anthology than it should be. But for those who just want the basics of Kris Kristofferson's claim to fame, you needn't look any further.
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AllMusic Review by Hal Horowitz
feat: Rita Coolidge