Personnel includes: Don Williams (vocals, acoustic & electric guitar); Emmylou Harris.
Producers: Don Williams, Garth Fundis.
Compilation producer: Mike Ragogna.
Includes liner notes by Colin Escott.
This collection was formerly titled ANTHOLOGY.
Liner Note Author: Colin Escott.
Photographer: Alan Messer.
The Universal Music Group maintains compilations of its major artists at different price points. There are two Don Williams volumes in the company's budget-priced best-of series, 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection and a Williams entry in the discount-priced single-disc series The Definitive Collection. The next level up is the double-disc Gold series, and for the Williams album Universal's reissue label Hip-O simply has looked back seven years to a 2000 compilation called Anthology and repackaged it, using the same songs in the same order and even reprinting Colin Escott's excellent liner notes. Williams reached the Billboard country singles charts 56 times between 1972 and 1992, and the bulk of those tracks were released by labels now in the Universal catalog, the major exceptions being nine singles released between 1986 and 1989 on Capitol Records and another nine released between 1989 and 1992 on RCA. This collection includes 40 of those 56 chart records. Hip-O has licensed three of the Capitol singles and four of the RCA ones. That means a number of Williams' later Top Ten hits are missing, but at least an effort has been made to cover his entire career. More troubling are the omissions of two major hits that didn't have to be licensed, "Stay Young," which hit number one, and "Mistakes," which hit number three. To the confusion of critics and the frustration of fans, major-label compilations have a tendency to do this, deliberately leave off a couple of big hits, presumably to force consumers to buy some other compilation. ("Stay Young" is on the second 20th Century Masters -- The Millennium Collection best-of; for "Mistakes," one must go back to an earlier Williams compilation series, The Best of Don Williams, Vol. 3, from 1984.) It is a perverse practice that should be deplored, and it keeps Gold from being an ideal Don Williams compilation, even though it is a very good one. ~ William Ruhlmann