Although this set has a couple of Judy Collins' best-known recordings like "Send in the Clowns" and "Both Sides Now," it is difficult to say that it is truly essential, as the title states. That's not to say that it's a bad collection, because as a sampler of Collins' best tendencies, it actually works pretty well. It also includes songs that she frequently features in concert ("The Blizzard," "Amazing Grace"), and since Wildflower Records is Collins' own label (she started it in 1999), perhaps she intends this to be a kind of concert memento. At any rate, if it isn't exactly essential, it makes a decent and interesting introduction to this dignified and graceful singer.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett