A fine rhythmic pianist with a thin, high voice that he strengthened by multi-tracking, Neil Sedaka turned his Brill Building pop songwriting smarts and doo wop influences into a long and successful career. He had two really distinct commercial peaks, a string of teen hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s and then another run between 1972 and 1975 where he essentially did the exact same thing (and often with the same songs), although at slower tempos, which gave the latter period more of an adult radio feel, albeit with the same sort of lightly-wounded-in-love sentiment of his earlier period. This set, despite the title, is not Neil Sedaka's greatest hits (volume two or otherwise), but it is an interesting portrait of this likeable performer. Included are several tracks drawn from his 1970s comeback like the slowed-down version of "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" along with rarer oddities like "Cardboard California" and a live medley drawn from a 1974 concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall that spotlights truncated versions of his earlier hits "Oh Carol," "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" and "Calendar Girl," among others. It adds up to a warm and casual portrait of Sedaka, but for most listeners, a straight hits collection would probably be a better choice.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett