I used to own Black's "Wonderful Life" album on vinyl, which I always considered a patchy effort apart from the amazing singles Wonderful Life, and Sweetest Smile in particular. Having ditched all my vinyl collection in the early 90s I have missed listening to his music, so decided to purchase this Greatest Hits collection in preference to Wonderful Life.
It was a good decision because The Collection sounds better as an album, in my opinion. Whilst Sweetest Smile and Wonderful Life are far and away his best songs, showing off those gorgeous melancholic vocals like no-one else - Tracy Thorn/Everything But The Girl are the closest - there are some other lovely moments here - Paradise, Big One, Let Me Watch You Make Love, You Dont Always Know What's Best For You, Here It Comes Again.
Listening to this, there is a feeling that Black-Colin Vearncombe - didn't quite fulfil his early promise. Possibly some kind of adaptation of his style to modern taste - dance music? - may have been a missed opportunity. The songwriting skills (great as they could be, on the above mentioned songs) don't keep apace with the wonderful deeply soothing/sad/melancholic vocals, which needed edgier material than they got here. That said, no-one is going to regret buying this album, if only for Sweetest Smile and/or Wonderful Life.