Randy Crawford - 'The Best of Randy Crawford' review

Posted on: 24 August 2011 by Alexander Hay

17 of the best (sort of) from the Soul megastar's back catalogue

Street Life! Da-da-dah-dah! Oh, Street Life! etc.The problem with greatest hit albums is that they often hint that the well is dry, you've run out of things to say and the only thing left to do now is licence your most radio friendly hit to a cat food advert.

But that is unfair in some cases. Often, 'greatest hits' means 'doing it for so long, your career remembers when Wagon Wheels were bigger'.

Which puts "The Best of Randy Crawford" into some context. She's been singing (soulfully) since the mid-70s, which means she must be doing something right, or at least, right enough to get a greatest hits album.

Wisely, the album puts many of the most well known Crawford hits at the front of the album, with obvious stalwarts like "Street Life" and "One Day I'll Fly Away" all present and correct. This lets the rest of the songs be considered on their merits, being more akin to the tracks you really need to listen to several times in order to 'get'.

Granted, her cover of John Lennon's "Imagine", assisted by jazz fusionists The Yellowjackets, is unnecessary, adding nothing new to what was, after all, a far too cloying and insincere 'anthem' to begin with. Instead too many layers of jazziness and crooning are slapped onto a rather lean base.

Meanwhile, "Diamante", featuring Italian singer Zucchero, is desperately cheesy and anodyne, a dip in quality in an otherwise well crafted range of tracks.

It's also obvious that, like most greatest hit albums, much is missed out. With 16 albums on her discography, you'd expect more on the disc, though everyone's opinion of what constitutes 'the best' is of course many and varied.

On its own, though, "The Best of..." is still a good introduction to Randy Crawford's output, though long term fans will, naturally, find nothing here that's really new.

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Alexander Hay

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