Bill Anderson

20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Bill Anderson

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For anyone wondering why MCA Nashville/Decca, which issued a Bill Anderson compilation called The Definitive Collection in June 2006, would issue another Anderson compilation, this one a best-of in parent company Universal Music's 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection series, only one month later, the answer is simple, at least in record company terms. The Definitive Collection has 20 tracks and a list price of $13.98; this album has 12 tracks and a list price of $9.95. (What retail outlets may charge is another matter entirely, of course.) The record label assumes that the two discs will appeal to different levels of fandom. (Universal also has a compilation series called Gold, which consists of two-disc sets, but as of July 2006 there was no Bill Anderson album in it yet.) That's why all of the songs on this album are also on The Definitive Collection. Among the tracks that have been removed are, for the most part, hits not quite as big as the ones that remain, although one of Anderson's chart-toppers, "Mama Sang a Song," is among the casualties. Still, what's left is choice: following Anderson's breakthrough Top Ten hit, "The Tip of My Fingers," the other 11 tracks all hit number one or number two in Billboard's country singles charts. That may be enough for his most casual fans. If it isn't, there's The Definitive Collection, with two-thirds more material at a 40 percent higher price.

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