With the saturation of Tyrone Davis greatest-hits compilations on the market, it's hard to decipher which among them is truly definitive of the Chicago soul singer's long and esteemed career. While 2005's excellent Give It Up (Turn It Loose) paints a great retrospective, it only covers his later years. And while 2001's 20 Greatest Hits compilation on Brunswick is concise and details his gritty early years, it only covers the hits, many of which die-hard fans would already own. So Brunswick, in keeping with Sony's recent Essential campaign, has co-opted that series' aesthetics and concept for The Ultimate Tyrone Davis, a two-disc, 40-track affair covering all points of his career on Dakar (a Brunswick sublabel) and featuring some amazing session musicians. It's a bit daunting for an introductory piece, but the remastering quality is impeccable and brings out Davis' voice in a bright, crisp fashion on top of the mix. Die-hard fans may already own most of these tracks thanks to 2004's The Dakar Records A's & B's: The Hit Singles compilation, but may want to consider upgrading for the sound quality and thorough liner notes. The Ultimate Tyrone Davis is a nice starting point for those investigating the soul artist's catalog, and when supplemented by Give It Up (Turn It Loose), provides the most thorough collection of Davis' work available.
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AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2