Hardin's two decade-bridging albums for Columbia Records are compiled here on one CD. For almost any other artist, these 19 tracks would be considered essential listening, and they're not for Hardin only because of the blazing brilliance of his classic Verve Records output. This is still a must-own disc, with excellent sound and very thorough annotation, and is worth ordering even as a slightly higher-priced import because the chances of either of these albums ever showing up in the domestic Sony Music catalog are next to nonexistent. There's a lot of pain in this disc, to be sure -- it's hard to find a Hardin song that didn't have some -- but also a level of lyrical and musical excellence that one should feel privileged to partake of.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder