Please note this is a re-issue of the earlier Anthology double CD with different title and packaging but an identical track listing. Unlike, the original set, this one has been given a British release although (as I'll explain later), Brits may notice that some of Jim's biggest UK hits are missing.
Jim's hit career was more complicated than most, because he had different hits in different countries. So, depending on which country you live in, the tracks you regard as essential will vary. This particular collection appears to be the definitive American hits collection, beginning with his earliest hillbilly music (the first eight tracks) and ending with the pop crossover music that everybody remembers him for (the remaining thirty two tracks). Of course, Jim had far more than forty hits so plenty of minor hits are missing but all of Jim's big American country and pop hits are here.
Everybody has their own favorites, but here you will find Distant drums, He'll have to go, I won't come in while he's there, I guess I'm crazy, Snowflake, Welcome to my world, Adios Amigo, Is it really over, This is it, Blue side of lonesome, Bimbo, Mexican Joe, Yonder comes a sucker and so much more. Eighteen of the twenty tracks from an earlier compilation also titled Essential Jim Reeves (the best American single CD compilation) are here, the exceptions being I love you because (a minor American hit) and Suppertime (not a hit in America).
Brits and expatriate Brits thinking of buying this collection should note the omission of three UK top ten hits (There's a heartache following me, I love you because, It hurts so much) and three other UK top twenty hits (You're the only good thing, Not until the next time, But you love me daddy). If you are looking for these tracks, you'll find them on a compilation made for the British market. This compilation was originally released for the American market so there is no reason for any of these songs to be included here.
Some songs turn up regularly on Jim Reeves compilations but others are occasional visitors. I was particularly pleased that they included Love is no excuse, a duet with Dottie West. Dottie was struggling for recognition until Jim persuaded RCA to sign her. She stayed with RCA for fourteen years so it was clearly good for all concerned but might have been even better. Love is no excuse, together with its B-side, was intended to be the primer for an album of duets. The rest of the album was never recorded because Jim died in a plane crash while the single was in the country top ten. It must have been particularly hard for Dottie to come to terms with as she had lost another friend (Patsy Cline) the year before in a different plane crash.
For American fans of Jim Reeves, this is the definitive hits collection. For Jim's British fans, here's a chance to get some classic songs that don't get released very often in Britain as well as some very familiar songs.