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From Miss Ross to a Friend of the Boss: Legacy’s Latest Wave of “Playlists” Offer Hits and Deep Cuts

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Playlist - Diana RossPlaylist, Legacy Recordings’ series of single-disc anthologies spotlighting “The Hits plus the Fan Favorites,” keeps on rollin’ with a new, typically eclectic group of artists covering a wide swath of genres and styles.  Today, May 21, Legacy releases volumes in the series dedicated to the best of R&B (Diana Ross, Donna Summer), pop (Billy Ocean), country-and-western (Chet Atkins, Patty Loveless, Restless Heart, Mindy McCready), Latin jazz (Tito Puente) and the many strains of rock (Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Warrant, Jeff Buckley, Switchfoot, Iggy Pop).  All Playlist titles are now housed in traditional jewel cases, and each title includes a booklet with a historical essay and discographical annotation.  Some of the titles even include new-to-CD and previously unissued rarities.

Playlist: The Very Best of Diana Ross kicks off with three seminal tracks from Miss Ross’ late period at Motown: “Love Hangover” from her second eponymous album in 1976, and “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out” from 1980’s CHIC-helmed smash diana.  (Don’t miss a loving and truly comprehensive tribute to diana from one of our favorite scribes, Christian John Wikane, over at Popmatters.)  Following that Motor City appetizer, the set kicks into high gear with eleven tracks from the legendary singer’s oft-overlooked tenure at RCA, released between 1981 and 1985.  Highlights such as “Chain Reaction” and “Eaten Alive” are derived from the Barry Gibb production Eaten Alive, with the latter track providing a reunion between Ross and Michael Jackson.  Four songs have been taken from 1981’s Why Do Fools Fall in Love, including Ross’ solo version of “Endless Love.”  Silk Electric, Ross and Swept Away are also represented, with every track in pristinely remastered sound from Mark Wilder.  The No. 2 AC hit “All of You” with Julio Iglesias is among the Swept Away tracks you’ll find in this tasty survey of Ross at RCA.

Playlist - Donna SummerThe late Donna Summer gets feted with Playlist: The Very Best of Donna Summer.  Unlike most entries in Legacy’s series, this Playlist volume isn’t derived from the superstar diva’s original recordings but rather from a concert performance.  Summer’s blazing 1999 show at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom was previously captured on disc as VH1 Presents Donna Summer Live and More Encore, but Playlist premieres four previously unissued tracks from that concert (“Is There Music There,” “Riding Through the Storm,” “Don’t Wanna Work” and “Nobody”).  It adds up to a live summary of the legendary vocalist’s hit-filled career, with “MacArthur Park,” “On the Radio,” “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” (with Tina Arena filling in for Barbra Streisand), “She Works Hard for the Money,” “Bad Girls,” “Hot Stuff” and the inevitable “Last Dance” all making appearances.  Vlado Mellor has remastered at Sony Studios New York.  Those who already own Live and More will likely wish to grab this for the four newly-released songs and the remastered sound, but both discs are essential for the full program.  “My Life,” “Love is the Healer” and “I Will Go with You (Con te partirò)” are absent from the new Playlist.  The latter two songs were studio recordings added to the Live and More CD; Grammy nominee “I Will Go with You” was a No. 79 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and fared even better in the U.K., with a No. 44 chart berth.  In addition, both of the studio tracks reached the top spot on the U.S. dance chart.

Playlist - Billy OceanThough he’d been charting hits in the U.K. for nearly a decade prior, the Trinidad-born singer made his first major splash on the U.S. Hot 100 when “Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” shot to No. 1, the same berth it occupied on the R&B chart.  The song began a hot streak for Ocean, the results of which are captured on Playlist: The Very Best of Billy Ocean.    The non-chronologically-sequenced 14-track set kicks off with “Caribbean Queen,” and also finds room for “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going” (No. 2 Pop/No. 6 R&B), “Loverboy” (No. 2 Pop/No. 20 R&B), “Suddenly” (No. 4 Pop/No. 5 R&B) and “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” (No. 1 Pop/No. 1 R&B).  In all, six albums are represented, and every track has been remastered by Tom Ruff.

After the jump: details on Jeff Buckley, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Chet Atkins, Iggy Pop and the rest – plus full track listings with discography and order links for each and every title! Read the rest of this entry »

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