While Brenda Lee is sometimes overlooked--ignored in favor of her contemporary Patsy Cline or dismissed as a singer of pop and novelty songs--this generous best-of collection will hopefully help to correct those misconceptions. Lee was one of Nashville's brightest stars in the late 1950s and early '60s, and THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION shows why. From the pop boogie of "Dynamite" (check Lee's growls at the start of each verse) to number one hits like the lilting ballad "I'm Sorry" and the string-heavy "I Want to Be Wanted," Lee proves herself a consistently appealing and capable vocalist.
Roots country fans may balk at the smooth, syrupy countrypolitan arrangements that dominate her sound, but Lee's recordings are among the best of the genre, thanks in large part to her sensual, well-controlled voice. Lee's less orchestrated recordings (like the bona fide rocker "Is It True?") are even better, and show her ability to shine in a variety of contexts. At 28 tracks, THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION shows the range and depth of Lee's talents, and as such is the perfect sampler of this important Nashville artist.