Bessie Smith

The Collection

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While there's no denying the importance and quality of Columbia/Legacy's Complete Recordings series, nine discs may seem a bit intimidating to the newcomer. Collection, a mid-priced, 16-track collection which spans most of Smith's career, ultimately does a better service to the casual listener with a limited budget. This is probably the best introduction -- undoubtedly many will seek out the more comprehensive packages afterward.

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