Charley Pride's significance in the history of country music isn't entirely tied to the quality of his music, although his warm baritone and adherence to "tradition" certainly provided the listening public with a wealth of enjoyable music. But his immense popularity with what is often assumed to be a conservative (read racially-intolerant) country audience in spite of (or because of) his skin color, will provide country music scholars with points to ponder for years to come. Beyond the curious phenomenon, though, is the music, which is often simply great. "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" and "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone" are enduring classics, and his live version of Hank Williams' "Kaw-Liga" demonstrates the rural charm that helped make Pride a star. This 20-song collection is a good distillation of hits from the late '60s through the late '70s, including the aforementioned tracks as well as a number of other hits. Charley Pride had too long and too successful a career to sum up with a single disc, but until he is granted his deserved and overdue box set, The Essential Charley Pride will do.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams