|Personnel: Rick Nelson (vocals, guitar); Allen Kemp, Bobby Neal, Dennis Larden (vocals, guitar); Steve Duncan (vocals, drums, percussion); Keith Moon (vocals, drums); Dave Burgess, Dean Martin, Tim Cetera, Gloria Wood, Jay DeWitt White, John Davis , Stephen A. Love, Jerry Fuller, Joanie Sommers, Pat Upton, Randy Meisner, The Jordanaires, The Sweet Inspirations, Walter Brennan (vocals); John Beland (guitar, viola); Clarence White, David Cohen, Dennis Budimir, Dick Rosmini, Roy Marinell, Don Preston , Mike Deasy Sr. , Howard Roberts , Al Casey , Jack Marshall, James Burton, Jeff Baxter, Jerry McGee, Joe Maphis, John Boylan, Keith Allison, Allan Reuss, Ron Elliott, Tommy Tedesco , Barney Kessel, Billy Strange, Bob Bain (guitar); Tom Brumley, Red Rhodes (steel guitar); Billy Ray Latham (banjo); Michel Rubini (harp); Assa Drori, James Getzoff, William Weiss, Harold Ayres, Bill Kurasch, Harold Dicterow, Jack Shulman, Tibor Zelig, Murray Adler, Lou Klass, Joe Quadri, Sid Sharp, Israel Baker (violin); Dave Schwartz, Harry Hyams (viola); Joseph Ditullio, Ray Kelley, Jesse Ehrlich (cello); Bill Green (flute); John Rotella (clarinet, saxophone); Jim Horn, Bill Perkins (reeds, saxophone); Jules Jacob, Gene Cipriano (reeds); Teddy Edwards (saxophone); Plas Johnson (tenor saxophone); Roy Caton, John Anderson , Holly Humphreys, Anthony Terran, John Audino, Ollie Mitchell (trumpet); Dick Hyde, Bobby Knight, Morris Repass, Marshal Cram, Charles Loper, Lew McCreary (trombone); Leon Russell (piano, organ); Gene Garf, Don Randi, Roger Renner, Elmo Peeler, Don Ferris, Glen D. Hardin, James Rowles, Dave Morgan, Mac Rebennack , Michael McDonald , Mike Melvoin, Paul Smith , Pete Jolly, Ray Johnson, Allen Harris, Jim Pierce (piano); Norm Jeffries, Earl Palmer , Pat Shannahan, Frank Capp, Rick Intveld, Ty Grimes, Richard Frost, Frank DeVito , Doug Altman, Eddie Tuduri, Jim Gordon , Gary Coleman, Billy Thomas, Irving Cottler (drums); Victor Feldman, Irving Kluger, Milt Holland (percussion).
|As a four-CD set spanning Rick Nelson's entire career, this will likely stand as the most thorough overview of the singer's music ever issued. This doesn't mean, though, that it's the best anthology of his work, unless you subscribe to the viewpoint that his post-mid-'60s records were about as good as his pre-mid-'60s ones, since a full two discs (or half) of this package is devoted to that post-mid-'60s output. Basically, it illustrates his trajectory in phases: disc one, as a good-to-great pop-rockabilly singer; disc two, as a still-good but not quite as vital teen idol in the late '50s and early '60s; disc three, as a fair but not great country-rocker; and disc four, as a has-been playing out the string with uninspired adult contemporary and revival tracks during his final years. The album is an impressive feat of cross-licensing, though, starting with three songs from his first singles (for Verve, and never easy to find on reissues), drawing a lot from his creative peak at Imperial, and then from his spottier efforts for Decca and other labels. All of his Top 40 hits are here, along with a dozen or so previously unreleased tracks, none too remarkable, as well as the 45-single versions of a few early hits. The song selection is very good, but not infallible: The absence of the moody "Mean Old World," which was about the best thing he did in the mid-'60s, is inexplicable. If you are a big fan and do like Nelson's country-rock phase, this is a reasonable investment, but if you don't, you should stick to those collections that focus on his 1957-1965 recordings. ~ Richie Unterberger