GREGG ALLMAN - No Stranger To The Dark: The Best Of Gregg Allman (2002)
Even if you accept that a best-of for Gregg Allman can focus wholly on his solo career (as this one does) and not include any of his work with the Allman Brothers, this could not by any stretch be considered "the best of Gregg Allman." It's really the best of what he's recorded for Sony, which is really an entirely different animal. That means there's nothing from his three 1970s albums, which most listeners would view as containing his best solo work; the chronological stretch on this comp only covers the last half of the 1980s and the 1990s. Like, say, Rod Stewart, this was a time in which his recordings had really only a shadow of their old power, although (like Stewart) his voice was still in good shape and he didn't stoop to levels as low as Stewart did. Given the pool of what it has to work with, this disc is a reasonable selection, evenly spread between highlights of the I'm No Angel, Just Before the Bullets Fly, and Searching for Simplicity albums. And there are a few extras that might make this worth getting for Allman completists: previously unreleased live cuts from 1987 ("Melissa") and 1998 (his long-lived staple cover of Jackson Browne's "These Days"), a studio outtake from 1985, and "Brother to Brother," a duet with Lori Yates that was on the 1989 Next of Kin soundtrack. Overall, though, it's hardly a guide to even some of his best work, the 1980s tracks suffering from slick period production and unmemorable AOR material. His voice is certainly operating at a level above the quality of many of the songs, and is better served by the occasional cuts on which the blues-soul elements come more to the foreground, like "I've Got News for You" and the cover of "Dark End of the Street." ~ All Music Guide *
TRACKS: 01. I'm No Angel 02. Island 03. Melissa (Live) 04. Faces Without Names 05. Evidence Of Love 06. Demons 07. Ocean Awash The Gunwale 08. House Of Blues 09. Before The Bullets Fly 10. The Dark End Of The Street 11. Slip Away 12. I've Got News For You 13. Brother To Brother 14. These Days (Live) 15. Hopelessly Miss You
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