The Steve Earle entry in Universal's 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection series of midline-priced best-ofs predictably treats Earle's career as if it lasted only from 1985-1988 and consisted only of his earlier MCA Records recordings. Five tracks are culled from his MCA debut, Guitar Town, including the Top Ten country hits "Goodbye's All We Got Left" and the title track. Another four come from Guitar Town's follow-up, Exit O, with two tracks recorded for a movie soundtrack, one of which, a revival of Dave Dudley's "Six Days on the Road," made the country charts. The 12-track selection concludes with the title song from Earle's third MCA album, Copperhead Road, which made the Top Ten of Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. It's a bare-minimum primer on Earle's most commercially successful music of the 1980s, but that's the idea. The country or rock fan who hasn't yet encountered Earle and wants to get an idea of what his music is like without paying full price for a front-line CD will satisfy that interest here and hopefully go on to the more comprehensive two-CD set I Ain't Ever Satisfied: The Steve Earle Collection or his regular albums.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann