Sony's Playlist series is certainly a 21st century approach to the "best-of" compilation. It provides both CD-quality music and downloadable mp3 files, and instead of liner notes and photos in the printed booklet, it provides them digitally on the CD. Most importantly, entries in the series are sold for a budget price. Kris Kristofferson's entry -- which claims to balance hits, audience favorites, and obscure tracks -- is a curious one in that it contains 14 songs from his Monument sides recorded between 1970 and 1979, and resembles very closely a standard greatest-hits collection. However, it leaves off some seminal tracks and deliberately -- it seems -- excludes others. For instance, why not include the title track from "Jesus Was a Capricorn" by substituting lesser numbers such as "Once More with Feeling" from Shake Hands with the Devil? Or "Living Legend" from Easter Island? A better question is why nothing is here from Kristofferson's stellar, underrated 1981 album To the Bone, whose single, "Nobody Loves Anybody Anymore," actually charted, carrying the album with it. (It was also reviewed very favorably at the time.) Most of the music here provides an excellent showcase of the singer/songwriter at his commercial peak. That said, there are far better, more representative collections available for the money. ~ Thom Jurek
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- The Highwaymen (Cash, Johnny)