Warner's Essentials series intends to bundle all the big hits and signature songs of a particular artist in a concise, mid-price collection, all grouped under an umbrella title so consumers can recognize a reliable brand name -- much like Universal's 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection series. Most artists are served well by this approach since it is, after all, a trumped-up greatest hits collection, and Todd Rundgren is not an exception. True, Todd has a number of zealous fans who will notice some key songs missing -- hits and album tracks alike, with "Just One Victory" being perhaps the most significant omission -- but the big hits are here: "We Gotta Get You a Woman," "I Saw the Light," "Couldn't I Just Tell You," "Hello It's Me," "A Dream Goes on Forever," "Can We Still Be Friends," "Bang on the Drum All Day," "The Want of a Nail." As such, it's a good choice for a budget-minded casual fan, even if Rhino's The Very Best of Todd Rundgren is a better starting point, since it not only has more songs, it covers more musical territory as well, giving a better idea of what he's accomplished. This gives the hits, no more and no less, and it works well on that level.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: Bobby Womack