Various Artists

Singers & Songwriters [Time-Life Box Set]

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At 150 tracks spread over 11 discs, this Time Life set is certainly expansive in its archival salute to singer/songwriters -- from Bobbie Gentry's “Ode to Billy Joe” to Peter Frampton's “Baby, I Love Your Way,” and touching base with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Janis Ian, Gordon Lightfoot, Van Morrison, and countless others along the way, it pretty much circles the wagons around the modern singer/songwriter era. The songwriter isn’t always the singer here, though, which leads to the inclusion of things like Joan Baez singing Robbie Robertson's “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and Roberta Flack singing Ewan MacColl's “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which -- definitive as these versions may or may not be -- raises the question of whether everything ever recorded could well have fit here under that kind of umbrella, since every song ever sung was written by somebody somewhere. That said, there are plenty of appropriate gems here, and like all Time Life collections, it’s well assembled and features very good sound.

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