2 LPs on 1 CD. The CD booklet includes lyrics and photos.
Personnel: Paul McCartney (vocals, guitar, piano).
Illustrators: Ainslie Macleod; Michael Ross ; Ian Wright.
Photographers: Mark Vigars; Robert Ellis ; Trevor Jones ; Chalkie Davies; Timothy O'Sullivan; Graham Hughes; David Thorpe ; Linda McCartney; Paul McCartney.
Technically, All the Best was the first compilation of McCartney's solo material, since Wings Greatest covered songs released under the Wings aegis. Well, there is considerable overlap between the two records -- eight of that album's 12 songs are here, yet the absent "Hi Hi Hi" and "Junior's Farm" are both missed -- although the nine new songs wind up giving this album a different character, for better or worse. With the U.K. version of All the Best, which has four different songs than its American counterpart, the balance shifts toward the worse, since the distinctly English bent does it a disservice. Nowhere is that more evident than on "We All Stand Together," a song written for a British kids' show and sung by frogs; not surprisingly, it sounds out of place among the rest of the album. The rest isn't as bad, though the neo-Scottish singalong folk of "Mull of Kintyre" will certainly baffle Americans and the exclusive "Once Upon a Long Ago," while fairly good, is not good enough to merit an extended search for this import (much less the nearly 30 dollars this author spent on the album when he was 15 years old; 1988 was a really strange world). The other song is the title track for Pipes of Peace, which just wasn't a big enough hit in the U.S. to justify its inclusion on the American disc. Even with these flaws, it's a very good retrospective of McCartney's career. It's easy to complain about some missing songs -- though grant me this: "Maybe I'm Amazed" really should be here. This compilation still has most of the greatest singles of McCartney's career, and while it may be a little heavy on the schmaltz at times, it's still mainstream pop craft of the highest order. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine