Liner Note Author: Joe Marchese.
The physical release of the digital-only 2014 compilation The Essential Robert Goulet, Real Gone Music's 2016 double-disc set The Definitive Collection lives up to its title. Then again, it doesn't have stiff competition. Prior to this collection, the last release from Sony was the budget-line 1989 set 16 Most Requested Songs, which itself was the first collection since 1969's Robert Goulet's Greatest Hits. All these served nothing more than the basics, whereas this offers 36 songs recorded between 1960 and 1969. Goulet kept recording after this but sporadically: the '60s were his golden age and The Definitive Collection documents it thoroughly, proceeding out of chronological order with the intent of providing a more listenable experience -- a gambit that pays off handsomely. Apart from some production flourishes, Goulet didn't really evolve with the times, so the non-chronological order helps emphasize his consistency, as does the lengthy running time. Goulet remains something of a lounge lizard -- his touch is somewhat too easy -- but this shows him at his best and it's the kind of thorough compilation he deserves. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine