Al Stewart

The Definitive Pop Collection

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Unlike many entries in Rhino's The Definitive Pop Collection, the Al Stewart volume doesn't merely repackage or edit a previous compilation, nor does it merely offer up the same old hits the way so many of Stewart comps do. This is a new double-disc set that attempts a full retrospective of Stewart's career, from his meandering early folk tunes, through the pop hits, right up to the 1995 album Between the Wars. Although it's easy to spot some missing tunes -- for instance, it would have been nice if his excellent 2005 album A Beach Full of Shells was represented -- it's impossible to argue with what's here since it offers an excellent, representative chronicle of Stewart's career through his biggest hits ("Year of the Cat," "Time Passages") and many of his best songs. Casual listeners will be better served by a strict hits collection, like Rhino's 2004 set Greatest Hits, but for those who want to dig deeper or want a more thorough introduction, The Definitive Pop Collection is the way to go.

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