Jackson Browne long displayed an aversion to hits collections, releasing his first one 25 years after his debut album. That 1997 disc, entitled Next Voice You Hear: The Best of Jackson Browne, had many hits, yet it was also missing many essential songs, leaving an opening for a collection that had all of Browne's hits and signature songs in one place. Released seven years later, Rhino/Elektra's double-disc The Very Best of Jackson Browne is more or less that collection. Produced by Jackson Browne and featuring 32 songs, this set has all the major songs -- "Doctor My Eyes," "These Days," "Late for the Sky," "The Pretender," "Fountain of Sorrow," "Redneck Friend," "Running on Empty," "Somebody's Baby" -- including songs missing on Next Voice You Hear, such as "Jamaica Say You Will," "Rock Me on the Water," "Take It Easy," "Before the Deluge," "The Load-Out," "Stay," and "Boulevard." However, there are a handful of smaller hits missing -- including "That Girl Could Sing," "Cut It Away," "For a Rocker," "For America," "Chasing You Into the Night," "World in Motion," and "Call It a Loan," the latter of which was on the previous compilation -- which may frustrate some listeners. Nevertheless, this is not a major problem since the collection does contain the great majority of Browne's best and best-known material in an attractive, engaging fashion (although the cardboard packaging may be a bit too flimsy to weather heavy, repeated listening), and for listeners who want a comprehensive overview without purchasing individual albums, this suits the bill nicely.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2