The Essentials collects 12 tracks recorded in the 1950s by Ruth Brown. She was the jewel in Atlantic's crown in the '50s, cranking out hit after hit like "Lucky Lips," "Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean," and "Mambo Baby." The only problem with this disc is that Rhino released a best-of in 1996 that has 11 more songs, including a couple of rare live tracks, superior liner notes, and the exact same list price. The only reason to buy The Essentials instead of Rockin' in Rhythm: The Best of Ruth Brown would be if you like Ruth Brown but are satisfied with only 12 tracks. The Essentials is not only inessential, it is unnecessary.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra