A greatest-hits compilation of sorts, Oliver Mtukudzi Collection focuses on the last four years of Mtukudzi's 25-year career. Capitalizing a bit on his time with Putumayo, this period is labeled as "The Tuku Years" -- essentially his time with producer Steve Dyer, putting out a slightly fuller sound than in his previous albums. The songs come primarily from the three previous albums on Putumayo, with Tuku Music providing three tracks, and Paivepo and Vhunze Moto each contributing a track. The rest are rarities on the American market, hailing from local releases from Zimbabwe and South Africa, and there are also a couple live tracks. "Neria" is the title track to the soundtrack of the first fully Zimbabwean-produced and -casted film, and "Hear Me Lord" is a rarity for Tuku: a piece fully in English. It was also an inspiration for Bonnie Raitt, gaining perhaps more exposure from her rendition than from Tuku himself. Without understanding the languages in use, a good deal of the poetry involved is lost, but the music itself can retain some of its power despite this. The guitar work and compositional skills are the real treats for the listener. While the separate albums are recommended, Oliver Mtukudzi Collection does a good job of summing up the Putumayo years and tossing in a couple extras along the way.
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg