Given how much of a fixture Johnnie Taylor was on black radio in the '60s and early to mid-'70s, it's ironic that one of his best-of collections doesn't contain an abundance of hit singles. Rather, the focus of Best of Johnnie Taylor on Malaco, Vol. 1 is the veteran soul man's work for Malaco in the '80s and '90s. Taylor may have been long past his peak commercially when these songs were recorded, but artistically, he still sounds like he's very much in his prime. Malaco's choices are generally excellent. Selections like "Don't Make Me Late," "Still Called the Blues" and "Everything's Out in the Open" show why Taylor has fared so well creatively at the label, which has encouraged him to continue taking a classic soul approach instead of catering to the urban contemporary market (something he has pretty much ignored). For listeners who haven't been exposed to his Malaco output, this collection is the logical starting point.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson