Following less than a year after Rhino's splendid double-disc retrospective Trail of Memories, Warner's budget-line collection The Essential Randy Travis covers the same territory, albeit in a much more concise fashion. Boasting a mere 12 songs, this disc has no pretense of being exhaustive or comprehensive, but rather just presents the cream of the crop of his Warner years. And even if it is missing a couple of heavy-hitters such as the superb "1982," it fulfills its goal very well, presenting most of the really big songs and hits, all in an affordable package. Trail of Memories remains the definitive anthology and the Warner-era Greatest Hits packages remain excellent in their own right, but this has a sharp, wide-ranging song selection and presents Travis at his finest, giving it the edge for those listeners who only want one, concise collection of his best.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine