Will Downing

20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection

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Twelve tracks just aren't enough for a definitive overview of Will Downing's long career, but his entry in the 20th Century Masters: Millennium Collection series makes for an affordable, right-sized introduction to the singer if you're wondering whether or not to explore this Luther Vandross-styled balladeer further. The song selection is well done and includes many great tracks -- the dreamy "Cool Water," his cover of "I Can't Make You Love Me" -- that don't appear on the slightly better, yet dauntingly bigger collection, Greatest Love Songs. Although it's an excellent, heartfelt performance, Downing's take on Angela Bofill's "I Try" is a little too heavy to open the collection when something lighter and welcoming like "Free" would have worked much better. On the other hand, Downing's show-stopping duet with Rachelle Ferrell on "Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This" is a fantastic closer. Stick the epic opener later into the collection and you've got an excellent way to familiarize yourself with this smooth crooner.

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