A decent primer of the Georgia Satellites' rootsy rock, The Essentials collects a dozen of their best performances, including hits like "Keep Your Hands to Yourself," "Battleship Chains," and "Open All Night." One of the Satellites' greatest strengths was their ability to embrace and update rock from the '50s, '60s, and '70s into their own style, and this is reflected in Essentials' rather cover-heavy track listing. The group's versions of "Whole Lotta Shakin'," "Hippy Hippy Shake," "Every Picture Tells a Story," and "Games People Play" are quite strong and mix well with originals like "Railroad Steel," "Bring Down the Hammer," and "Another Chance," but allotting a quarter of the collection's songs to covers feels disproportionate. While Let It Rock remains the best Georgia Satellites retrospective, Essentials a fairly good, concise package of the group's best work.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares