While Universal's budget-priced best-of series, 20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection, is welcome for introducing inexpensive compilations of a wide range of recording artists, it also complicates things for consumers when an act already has one or more collections currently in the marketplace. A good example is Joe Walsh. Walsh originally gained renown in 1969 as a member of the James Gang, which recorded for ABC Records, the catalog for which is now controlled by Universal and released through MCA Records. Walsh left the James Gang in 1971, but stayed with ABC on its Dunhill subsidiary for his 1972 group effort, Barnstorm, and his first two solo albums, 1973's The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get and 1975's So What. He then moved on to labels now controlled by Warner and Sony. This ten-track album presents his best-known work from the James Gang and his early solo career, including such favorites as "Funk #49" and "Rocky Mountain Way." In 1978, ABC released the nine-track album The Best of Joe Walsh, which is still in print on cassette (MCA MCAC-1601); eight of its tracks are among the ten on this new collection. In 1994 came Look What I Did! Joe Walsh Anthology, a two-CD set, followed in 1997 by Greatest Hits: Little Did He Know, a 15-track single disc. Look What I Did! also contains eight of the ten tracks on the new collection, along with later hits such as "Life's Been Good" and "All Night Long." Of course, it sells for full price, but its more complete selection of Walsh hits justifies the heftier price tag. The Best of Joe Walsh: 20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection is for budget-conscious consumers who like the early Joe Walsh and the James Gang, but not Walsh's later work, or who want to replace their copies of The Best of Joe Walsh with a better-sounding equivalent.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann