Since Tom T. Hall's recording career extends all the way from 1969 to the end of the century, becoming familiar with his music can often feel like a daunting task. Thankfully, the folks at Hip-O have made things much easier for newcomers who don't want to splurge and get the double-disc Storyteller, Poet, Philosopher, even if that is the preferred place to begin. Hip-O's Ultimate Collection summarizes Hall's career with much efficiency, cramming a total of 24 songs onto one disc -- some of the best songs Hall ever recorded. Granted, with a canon as deep as Hall's there's going to be bickering among seasoned fans about the inclusions, but newcomers need not worry about these sort of debates -- everything here is top-notch, and that's all that really matters in the end. Obviously though, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Hall's work. That's undoubtedly why it's nice to have a simple, straightforward best-of such as this to give newcomers a succinct overview of his recording career so they know where to head next. But for those who are really curious about Hall, there's no denying that the aforementioned Storyteller, Poet, Philosopher stands as the more comprehensive and preferred best-of; prospective buyers just need to consider that it's also a larger investment on their part relative to Ultimate Collection.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier