Edie Brickell & New Bohemians were, arguably, a one-hit wonder, that one hit being the Top Ten "What I Am" in 1989, although they sold two million copies of their debut album, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars and attracted radio and/or minor chart rankings with a few other tracks. Still, their quick fade (they broke up in 1991) prevented Geffen Records from issuing a hits compilation domestically. Hip-O's Ultimate Collection takes advantage of the group's relatively brief renown to assemble an album largely devoted to rarities and unreleased material. Only three tracks are drawn from Shooting Rubberbands, plus a couple from its follow-up, Ghost of a Dog, and three from Brickell's solo debut, Picture Perfect Morning. Then there is the band's cover of Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" from the Born on the Fourth of July soundtrack, Brickell's contribution to George Harrison's Nobody's Child benefit album ("Big Day, Little Boat"), and Brickell collaborations with jazz trumpeter Chris Botti ("Like I Do Now") and Rob Wasserman and Jerry Garcia ("Zillionaire"). Then come seven previously unreleased tracks from what appear to be abortive sessions by a group called the Slip that featured former members of the New Bohemians and from the New Bohemians themselves. No information is provided on this material (a press release says it comes from "'90s sessions"). The tracks find Brickell rocking a little harder than usual, but her individual viewpoint remains intact on such songs as "1873 (Buffalo Diary)" and "Girl in a Magazine." The extensive use of such recordings makes Ultimate Collection more of a miscellany than a best-of, but Brickell has always been a quirky, off-beat artist, and she is perhaps most accurately represented by a compilation that focuses more on side projects and incomplete efforts than on her small body of finished work.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann