Q - 10/96, p.1754 Stars
- Excellent - "...Suggests that his best days may be just arriving....[Earle is] apt to come on too loud, too abrasive, too rock'n'roll for Nashville....All those...hits are here...each as high, wide and handsome as the day they were coined."
Mojo (Publisher) - 6/00, p.43
"...Brilliantly compiled...pulling together all of the high points of Earle's tenure at MCA, alongside live covers from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones..."
Personnel includes: Steve Earle (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, guitar, mandolin, harmonica, 6-string bass); Bucky Baxter (vocals, acoustic, pedal steel, lap steel, steel & electric guitars, dobro, 6-string bass); Ken Moore (vocals, organ, keyboards, synthesizer); Bill Lloyd (acoustic & 12-string guitars); Richard Bennett (acoustic & electric guitars, guitar, 6-string bass, bass); Stacey Earle Mimms (acoustic guitar, percussion, background vocals); Paul Franklin (pedal steel guitar); John Jarvis (piano, keyboards); Reno Kling (bass); Custer (drums); Patrick Earle (percussion); The Christ Missionary Baptist Church Choir, Memphis (background vocals); The Dukes, Telluride, The Pogues.
Producers include: Emory Goody, Jr., Tony Brown, Steve Earle.
Compilation producer: Andy McKaie.
Recorded between 1985 and 1991. Includes liner notes by Mary Katherine Aldin.
Digitally remastered by Erick Labson (MCA Music Media Studios, North Hollywood, California).
Personnel: Steve Earle (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin, harmonica, 6-string bass); Bucky Baxter (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, steel guitar, dobro, 6-string bass); Philip Chevron (vocals, guitar); Zip Gibson (vocals, electric guitar); Spider Stacy (vocals, tin whistle); Ken Moore (vocals, organ, keyboards, synthesizer); Harry Stinson (vocals, drums); Richard Bennett (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, 6-string bass); Mike McAdam (guitar, electric guitar, 12-string guitar); Bill Lloyd (acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar); Stacey Earle-Mims (acoustic guitar, percussion, background vocals); Donnie Roberts (electric guitar); Jerry Douglas (dobro); Shane MacGowan (banjo, bodhran); Jem Finer (banjo); Terry Woods (cittern); Emory Gordy, Sam Bush (mandolin); Mark O'Connor (fiddle); James Fearnley, K-Meaux Boudin (accordion); John Jarvis (piano, keyboards); Lester Snell (organ); Steve Nathan (synthesizer); Craig Wright, Custer, Arden Ranken (drums); Patrick Earle (percussion); John Cowan, Maria McKee (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Mary Katherine Aldin.
Recording information: Calgary, Alberta, Canada (09/30/1985-10/06/1990); Kitchner, Ontario, Canada (09/30/1985-10/06/1990); London, England (09/30/1985-10/06/1990); Memphis, TN (09/30/1985-10/06/1990); Nashville, TN (09/30/1985-10/06/1990); Park West, Chicago, IL (09/30/1985-10/06/1990).
Photographers: Ron Keith; Alan Messer; Greg Allen ; Scott Bonner.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Steve Earle; Terry Woods; Dukes; The Pogues; Telluride; Bucky Baxter.
A definitive two-CD best-of covering Earle's work for MCA, with tracks from all his pre-drug bust albums in more or less chronological order from the 1987 GUITAR TOWN (when he was being marketed as a country artist) to the gonzo 1991 live SHUT UP AND DIE LIKE AN AVIATOR (where the grunge guitars made it clear that he wasn't). Comparisons to Springsteen and Mellencamp are accurate up to a point (as is the "Keith Richards of country" tag) but listening to this collection makes it clear that Earle's always been his own man. High points here include the superb anti-gun anthem "The Devil's Right Hand," an idiomatic live cover of Doug Sahm's "She's About a Mover," the angst-ridden "I Ain't Ever Satisfied," the Reagan-era protest "Good Ol' Boy (Getting Tough)," and a concert version of "Dead Flowers" that out-Stones the Stones, but there isn't a note here that isn't as real as it gets.