Adapters: Jack D. Johnson ; Charley Pride.
Personnel: The Jordanaires (vocals); Nashville Horn Works (horns).
Liner Note Author: Rich Kienzle.
Recording information: 05/06/1966-11/30/1984.
Photographer: Les Leverett.
Arrangers: Henry Mancini; Jack D. Johnson ; Charley Pride.
RCA/Legacy's 2006 release The Essential Charley Pride is a repackaged reissue of BMG Heritage's 2003 compilation Anthology, containing a different title and cover art, but bearing the same 40 tracks and annotation. There have been plenty of Charley Pride collections issued throughout the years, but none have been better than BMG Heritage's 2003 double-disc set Anthology. Over the course of two discs and 40 tracks, the compilation spans his two decades with RCA, from his first single "Before I Met You" in 1966 to 1985's "Down on the Farm." Between those two songs are all of his biggest hits -- "Just Between You and Me," "The Easy Part's Over," "(I'm So) Afraid of Losing You Again," "All I Have to Offer You Is Me," "Kaw-Liga," "I Can't Believe That You've Stopped Loving Me," "Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone," "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'," "It's Gonna Take a Little Bit Longer," "She's Too Good to Be True," "A Shoulder to Cry On," "Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town," and "Where Do I Put Her Memory," among them. Since Pride was a constant presence at the top of the country charts during these two decades, Anthology is missing some big (and good) hits, particularly such late-'70s and early-'80s sides as "You're My Jamaica," simply due to the constraints of the compilation; even at two discs, there are only so many songs that can fit on this set. Even with the absence of these hit singles, Anthology is the best Charley Pride compilation yet assembled: no other collection contains so much of his best material presented in such loving yet logical fashion, nor is there another set quite so listenable as this. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine