Although it isn't necessarily a definitive retrospective, Essential is the best CD compilation of Floyd Cramer's solo recordings yet assembled. Containing 20 tracks, including his hits "Last Date," "San Antonio Rose" and "Stood Up," the disc captures Cramer's signature stride piano style in all of its glory on a variety of country, pop and R&B numbers. Cramer was as well-known as a sideman as he was a solo artist, and even if Essential contains none of his session work, it contains a good portion of his very best recordings, making it a fine introduction to one of the most influential pianists in country and pop history.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine