Alseep At The Wheel: Ray Benson (vocals, guitar); Leroy Preston (guitar, drums, background vocals); Chris O'Connell (guitar, background vocals);
Lisa Silver (fiddle); Jo-El Sonnier (accordion); Bobby Womack (trumpet); Floyd Domino (keyboards).
Additional personnel includes: Bela Fleck, Brooks & Dunn, Chet Atkins, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Lyle Lovett.
Producers include: Tommy Allsup, Asleep At The Wheel, Joel Dorn, Chuck Flood, Ray Benson.
Compilation producer: Gregg Ogorzelec.
Recorded between 1972 & 1995. Includes liner notes by Ray Benson.
Liner Note Author: Ray Benson.
Recording information: Golden Gate Recording, San Francisco, CA (07/13/1972).
Arrangers: Ray Benson; Brooks & Dunn.
While Ray Benson's indefatigable Western swing revival outfit Asleep at the Wheel has recorded for a handful of labels over the course of a career that's spanned four decades (so far), they've cut enough stuff for Capitol and other labels currently under their ownership (United Artists and Liberty) that this compilation, if not definitive, certainly provides a healthy and accurate overview of their career. (Capitol also licensed one track each from the band's Epic and Arista back catalogs for good measure.) Though Asleep at the Wheel has dipped its toes ever so slightly into the country mainstream over the years, Benson and his crew have always stayed true to their love for the vintage sounds of hillbilly boogie, Western swing, and twang-infused blues, and these 20 cuts prove that despite dozens of lineup changes, this group's musical vision has remained consistently strong through the decades, and that both then and now they knew how to keep the sainted spirit of Bob Wills alive and dancing. While the sheer bulk of Asleep at the Wheel's back catalog would suggest that a box set is in order for this band, 20 Greatest Hits shows they started out with the right idea and have yet to lose it, and if it isn't the ideal AATW collection, it's a better-than-average cross section of their music and a pretty good introduction for beginners. ~ Mark Deming