Personnel: Roy Hamilton (vocals).
Liner Note Author: Mark Marymont.
Anthology offers 18 selections that cover Roy Hamilton's recording career with Epic, a decade-long relationship that produced a prolific 16 albums' worth of material and spawned ten Top 20 R&B hits. Like Billy Eckstine before him, Hamilton possessed a rich baritone voice with ample vibrato, although the dramatic punch of his delivery was purely his own. He also had the versatility to switch from swinging rhythm & blues numbers like his 1958 hit "Don't Let Go," to material that cast him as a pop balladeer like "Ebb Tide" and his chart-dominating debut single, "You'll Never Walk Alone," which spent a staggering eight weeks at number one in 1954. His best songs bridge styles, none more so than "Unchained Melody," later recast as a hit for the Righteous Brothers, or the protean country R&B of "I'll Walk Alone." Most of Anthology, however, treads the dinner-club terrain of pop standards like "Mona Lisa," "Stormy Weather," and "Route 66," all of which Hamilton delivers with appropriate elegance, but tend to leave him with the pack rather than leading it. ~ Wade Kergan