The Essentials covers material vocal duo Dan Seals and John Coley recorded during their high-water mark from 1976-1980. It includes their highest-charting material: the clear-eyed "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight"; "We'll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again," with classic '70s production from Kyle Lehning; and the Todd Rundgren-penned "Love Is the Answer." It also provides adequate supporting material, including digital remastering, archival photos, and extensive liner notes. But despite its name, this release is not the essential retrospective of the duo's work. That honor goes to Rhino's The Very Best of England Dan & John Ford Coley, a 16-track collection that lists for the same price as this 12-track compendium. Unfortunately, Essentials has sacrificed a few solid album-oriented songs Seals and Coley penned in favor of sound-alike material aping the production and style of their biggest hits, but lacking the same resonance or sunny vibe. For example, "Hold Me," from 1978's troubled Some Things Don't Come Easy, seems like a place-holder; a better choice would have been Seals and Coley's prescient "Soldier in the Rain." Essentials functions well as a collection of England Dan & John Ford Coley's biggest hits, but fails at presenting the full scope of their work together.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus