Ramsey Lewis

The Greatest Hits of Ramsey Lewis

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Although Ramsey Lewis' career with Chess stretched from the mid-'50s to the end of the 1960s, it was only in the mid-'60s that he made a significant dent in the pop market. Accordingly, this 18-track collection is not so much a representative sampling of his Chess output as it is a heavy dip into his most popular mid-'60s recordings. Although the tracks do span 1961-1967, all but four cuts were done in 1964-1966. Not that this is such a bad thing; this era was the time at which Lewis issued not just his most popular stuff, but also his best. It's a strong group of his best pop-jazz-R&B material, including all four of his Top 40 hits ("The 'In' Crowd," "A Hard Day's Night," "Hang on Sloopy," and "Wade in the Water"). While some tracks do allow him to get more heavily into the jazz or blues end of things, most of it focuses on comfortable R&B-jazz-pop grooves, even if it's much heavier on adaptations of familiar material that had already been popularized by other artists than it is on original Lewis compositions.

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