Since Warner/Rhino's 2005 Ultimate Collection appeared a mere four years after their last Michael McDonald compilation -- 2001's The Very Best of Michael McDonald -- it may seem that it's a little early to rehash the same recordings yet again. That suspicion is unfounded, since The Ultimate Collection finally delivers what McDonald fans have been waiting for: his solo hits and Doobie Brothers smashes on the same disc. Not that this has every hit he ever had -- his minor 1991 single "All We Got" isn't here, for instance -- but most listeners won't notice the omissions since this 19-track collection has "What a Fool Believes," "Takin' It to the Streets," "Minute by Minute," "You Belong to Me," "Real Love," "It Keeps You Runnin'," "I Gotta Try," "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)," "No Lookin' Back," "Sweet Freedom," "Yah Mo B There," and even his recent 2004 hit cover of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." Consequently, this is by far the best showcase for his smooth, soulful soft rock, and the one Michael McDonald disc fans both casual and fanatical should own.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: James Ingram
feat: Patti LaBelle