Various Artists

Rolling Stone Presents: Male Singer-Songwriters

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Rhino's 2001 release Rolling Stone Presents: Male Singer-Songwriters essentially is a condensed version of the Listen to the Music: Male Singer-Songwriters collection, containing pretty much the same song selection, with the substitutions erring toward the side of the familiar -- Cat Stevens' "Father and Son" becomes "Wild World," and so on. So, that doesn't really make it essential or revelatory, but it's not a bad listen either, since what's here is good, even great, and the context is good -- plus, such new selections as Leon Russell's weird, wonderful "Tight Rope" are welcome. It's hard to feel strongly about this collection, since the music is good, but just a bit overly familiar. Nevertheless, it's hard to fault Rhino's presentation, which doesn't just cover the good sound, but the clever artwork, which sends up classic Rolling Stone, with fine liner notes from David Wild to boot. But at this retail, it's hard not to wish it was a little longer than ten songs, no matter how good those ten songs are.

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