Released within a year after Collectors' Choice's comprehensive retrospective The Complete Columbia Hits & More, Columbia/Legacy's 2004 16-track release The Best of Jimmy Dean is nine cuts shorter than that collection but four songs longer than the classic 1966 Greatest Hits. This means it's not as complete as the best collection on the market, but it's more generous than the compilation that, as of the turn of the century, was still the best Jimmy Dean collection yet assembled. In fact, The Best of Jimmy Dean isn't all that far removed from Greatest Hits, since it shares all but one of the LP's 12 songs (the missing tune is "The Farmer and the Lord"), which also means that it isn't quite as chart-bound as the Collectors' Choice disc. While The Complete Columbia Hits & More remains the choice for serious listeners, it's a bit harder to find, and the songs exclusive to it will not be missed by the average listener, making this a good summary for most. For the record, the "Big Bad John" on The Best of Jimmy Dean is the "big, big man," not the "hell of a man" version of the single.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine