Only the Best of Hank Crawford

Hank Crawford

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Only the Best of Hank Crawford Review

by Thom Jurek

Collectables' whopping eight-disc set collects 12 of Hank Crawford's Atlantic- and Cotillion-era albums in a box. Crawford began his solo recording career with the Atlantic imprint while he was still a member of the Ray Charles orchestra. This compilation assembles 12 albums from the great alto saxophonist's career and provides a very representative aural portrait of his early period through the 1960s. It's a critic's argument more than a music fan's as to whether these were his best records during the era (for instance, the tremendous Memphis, Ray and a Touch of Moody is missing) or not, but none of those included here are unworthy. Album such as More Soul, Mr. Blues Plays Lady Soul, and Dig These Blues are almost worth the price alone. A quick caveat though: if you've been purchasing Collectables' reissues of Crawford's recordings, particularly the two-fers, you may already have much of the material here. What the label did was simply take the CDs they already issued and stuff them in a rather generic box. That said, the music is all top-notch.

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