Includes rare photos, complete session information and new liner notes.
Producers include: Tom Collins, Jack D. Johnson, Ronnie Milsap, Rob Gailbraith, Kyle Lehning.
Compilation producer: Rob Santos.
Digitally remastered by Elliott Federman (SAJE Studios, New York, New York).
Liner Note Author: Rich Kienzle.
Ronnie Milsap had a staggering number of hits, staying near the top of the country charts for 20 years between 1973 and 1992. It's too much material to fit on a single disc, which is why the double-disc 40 #1 Hits exists, and for those who want a comprehensive collection, they should turn there. Single-disc collections are still useful as overviews and introductions to his lengthy career, largely because they're easier to absorb, but his volume of BMG Heritage's RCA Country Legends isn't necessarily a straight hits collection, even if every one of these 16 tracks was a charting hit. There are many very big hits missing, including "(I'm A) Stand by My Woman Man," "Stranger in My House," and "Smoky Mountain Rain," along with the giant pop crossover tunes "He Got You" and "Any Day Now." The absence of the latter suggests that this, like other installments in the RCA Country Legends series, intends to offer a country-centric view of the featured artist -- an admirable intent, but one that doesn't quite work in the case of Milsap, who always cheerful spun his work toward pop. Plus, the song selection contains such slickly produced pop-bait as "Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night)" and "Happy, Happy Birthday Baby," two numbers that feel far more pandering than "He Got You" and "Any Day Now," which really should have been on here instead. Apart from those two cuts, the rest of this disc actually has an expert song selection, even finding gems from the late '80s in "Don't You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me)" and "A Woman in Love" but really gaining its strength by concentrating on his terrific '70s and early-'80s sides like "Pure Love," "(All Together Now) Let's Fall Apart," "Daydreams About Night Things," and "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends." All of those tunes did not appear on the 20-track 1995 collection The Essential Ronnie Milsap, which focused on '80s material, thereby playing up his pop side. This, in comparison, gives a better indication of his country roots (even with the couple of MOR selections toward the end of the collection) than any compilation outside of 40 #1 Hits, and in that sense, it winds up fulfilling its intention of being a country-oriented Milsap overview, and it's very entertaining and a very good introduction for those listeners who don't want a full two discs. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine