Top positive review
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A satisfying journey down memory lane
on March 25, 2008
Kenny Rogers was at the peak of his career when I was growing up and he's always been a big favorite of mine. I've been looking for a good digitally remastered compilation to replace "20 Greatest Hits" which has got pretty poor audio quality when played alongside of music that was recorded more recently. I came across the CD "21 Number Ones" at Target. I was tempted to buy it but decided to wait until I got home and check the reviews on Amazon. After reading about the improved audio quality, I decided that I really wanted this collection and decided to download the mp3 version.
I was a bit disappointed to find that the mp3 version of the album that is available on Amazon contains six fewer tracks than the CD version, excluding all of Kenny's RCA recordings and the Sheena Easton duet "We've Got Tonight". I figured the RCA tracks were unavailable due to licensing restrictions, but why "We've Got Tonight" was exlcuded was a big mystery, since it was originally released on the Liberty label, as were most of the tracks in the collection. I deliberated about whether I should just order the CD, but then I discovered that most of the missing were available for download on another digitally-remastered set "A Love Song Collection". In the end, I was able to piece most of the album back together by purchasing "Number Ones" and some selected tracks from "A Love Song Collection." I'd already bought "Buy Me A Rose" from this set a while back, and I opted not to purchase "Islands In The Stream" since there's a perfectly good remastered version of this song on "The Essential Dolly Parton". The only track I couldn't get was the Ronnie Milsap duet "Make No Mistake, She's Mine", which was my least favorite song of this collection anyway, so that was no biggie. It took a little effort and ended costing $1 more than buying the CD, but it had the advantage of not having the tracks shortened to squeeze them onto one disk, as another reviewer had lamented.
Kenny Rogers recorded so many wonderful songs that have stood the test of time. Many of these songs could be hits today. Some may complain that they are more pop than country, but I think it is just great music -- and far better than the fodder that is spoon-fed to us by the sad state of affairs that is modern country radio. The oldest recordings in this set are over 30 years old ("Lucille" was released in 1977) but you would never know it from listening to them. They sound as if they were brand new recordings. I've never heard these songs sound so sharp and vibrant, which brings a whole new level of enjoyment to them. Listening to this album has brought back a lot of wonderful memories of when I was growing up. This collection is one that I will be playing quite a lot. I highly recommend it.