Personnel: Michael McDonald (vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Wurlitzer organ, keyboards, synthesizer, background vocals); Michael McDonald (Wurlitzer piano); John McFee (vocals, guitar); Cornelius Bumpus (vocals, saxophone); Tiran Porter (vocals, bass instrument); Bobby LaKind (vocals, congas, bongos); Wendy Moten (vocals, background vocals); Nicolette Larson, Rosemary Butler (vocals); Bernie Chiaravalle (guitar, coral sitar); Tommy Sims (guitar, Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet, synthesizer); Dann Huff, David Pack, Michael Hart Thompson , Robben Ford, Warren Haynes, David E. Williams (guitar); Chris Rodriguez (electric guitar); Rev. Dave Boruff (flute, saxophone); Doug Moffet, Mark Douthit, Denis Solee (saxophone); Brandon Fields (alto saxophone); Albert Wing (tenor saxophone); Chuck Findley, Lee Thornberg, Gary Grant, Jerry Hey (trumpet); William Frank "Bill" Reichenbach Jr. , Bruce Fowler (trombone); Larry E. Williams (horns, keyboards, synthesizer); Tony Swain (Fender Rhodes piano); Jeff Bova (Clavinet, bass synthesizer); Jesse Butler (organ); Rod Temperton (keyboards, synthesizer); Danny Sembello, Rev. Patrick Henderson, Anthony Patler (keyboards); Michael Boddicker, Bill Payne, David Foster, Brian Mann (synthesizer); Wells Christy (Synclavier); Chet McCracken (vibraphone, marimba, drums); Louis Johnson, Nathan East (bass instrument); George Perilli, John "4 Daddman" Robinson, Manu Katch‚, Steve Gadd , Dan Needham, Carlos Vega (drums); Ted Templeman (cowbells, maracas, tambourine, percussion); Tim Akers (tom tom, background vocals); Tom Roady (percussion); Jimmy Bralower, Toby Baker (drum programming); Clydene Jackson, Evette Benton, Barbara Ingram, Carla Benson, David Lasley, Cynthia Edwards, Lisa Young, Maureen McDonald, Tammy Taylor, Julia Tillman Waters, Arnold McCutler, Gale Mayes-West, Jenni Muldaur, Maxine Willard Waters, Amy Holland, Ann McCrary, Quincy Jones, Siedah Garrett, Sir Harry Bowens, Sweet Pea Atkinson (background vocals); Patrick Simmons (vocals, guitar); James Ingram (vocals, synthesizer); Keith Knudsen (vocals, drums); Patti LaBelle (vocals); Jeff Baxter, Paul Jackson, Jr. , Steve Lukather (guitar); Burt Bacharach (piano); Greg Phillinganes (Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet, keyboards); Peter Wolf (synthesizer); John Hartman (drums, percussion); Jeff Porcaro, Ricky Lawson (drums); Paulinho Da Costa (percussion); Kenny Loggins (background vocals).
Audio Remasterers: Daniel Hersch; Bill Inglot.
Liner Note Author: Barry Alfonso.
Photographer: Roger Ressmeyer.
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. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine