"BlackHawk's trio of lead vocalist Henry Paul (also mandolin) and harmonizers Van Stephenson (guitar) and Dave Robbins (keyboards) were brought together to form one of the most successful country groups of the `90s. This after many years spent forging their own identities: Paul with the Outlaws and the Henry Paul Band, Stephenson and Robbins as successful songwriters for Kenny Rogers and Restless Heart, among others. The group's specialty is definitely up-tempo tunes (all ten of their enclosed top 20 efforts have a pronounced beat) and usually, the rowdier, the better. Barn-burners "Every Once In Awhile," "Like There Ain't No Yesterday;" and "There You Have It" were heaven-sent for swing dancing, while mid-tempo gems "Just About Right" and "Almost A Memory Now" nicely display their organic roots. The two other recordings contained on Greatest Hits provide a much needed cool down from the boisterousness: the exquisite ballad "Postmarked Birmingham" (Paul's greatest vocal performance to date) which undeservedly stiffed outside the top 30 and the non-single "Always Have, Always Will," which offers a rare lead by the author Robbins (an accomplished, heartfelt effort, though not up to Paul's standards). The omitted "Hole In My Heart" and a lively cover of the Andrew Gold hit "Lonely Boy would have fit in nicely as well, but overall, it's a creditable selection of BlackHawk's best. Greatest Hits also contains three diverse new recordings. The first single "I Need You All The Time" is vintage BlackHawk: quick tempo, a lot of fun, easy to dance to. Radio's resistance to give it steady airplay (it has stalled in the middle regions of the country charts) may not bode well for the group's recording future. There's also a lovely, subtle ballad "It Takes A Woman" which revives the old adage "success is nothing without someone to share it with". Best of all is "Ships Of Heaven," a semi-autobiographical ballad written by Stephenson while he was being treated for a malignant melanona. It's a powerful statement about everlasting love that builds to a glorious, gospel-drenched climax. It was also a fitting swan song for Stephenson as he retired from the group after completing these new recordings with Paul and Robbins (Stephenson lost his battle with cancer earlier this year)."
Greatest Hits a definite must
Cheryl | 05/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This greatest hits CD is one of the best greatest hits collections I have ever heard. All of Blackhawk's hits are here. The CD also includes the touching song, "Always Have, Always Will" written and sung by Dave Robbins to his wife. The three new tracks on this CD are great compliments to the other songs. The song "I Need You All The Time" is a catchy, mindless fun song. Van Stephenson's "Ships of Heaven" is an emotional piece that makes a nice ending to the CD. This collection exemplifies what makes this band great with the harmonizing and great vocalization. This CD is a definite must for any fan of country music."
"Ships of Heaven"
DanD | 05/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even if you already own every Blackhawk CD ever produced, "Ships of Heaven" is a song that cannot be missed. The song is beautiful and inspiring; and written by one of the most talented songwriters in the world--Van Stephenson."
Greatest Hits is the best of the best!
Cheryl | Iowa | 05/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This collection is a must for anyone who has a appreciation of great music and multiple talent. Blackhawk has put together a great collection of some of their greatest hits and putting a creative touch to that greatest by adding these three additional songs. "It Takes A Woman" is a song that touches any woman's heart by showing her the true importance of the man receiving the love and support of a woman and you feel that as they sing this beautiful song. "Ships of Heaven" is a song can only take your mind to the friends and family that are there in heaven on those ships. This well written song could only come from a person who is such a huge part of Blackhawk's success "Van Stephenson", no one else could say it better. By having the song "I Need You All The Time" on this collection it makes you want to dance. This collection is a must have for anyone who has a true appreciation for talent and a group who can touch your heart make you smile and leave you feeling like they are part of what makes music such a important part of life."
One of 90s country's best trios!
DanD | 06/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For a band who had so many hits throughout the nineties, BlackHawk get's very little airplay today. It's a shame--the three guys (now down to two, with guitarist Van Stephenson's passing a couple years ago) were talented singer/songwriter/performers. With Henry Paul's unique voice and Stephenson's and keyboardist Dave Robbins's superb songwriting, they crafted some of country music's best songs.They could hold their own no matter what the style. Combining traditional country with a new pop-edged sound, Blackhawk has always managed to sound unique. On a ballad, there were/are few better. From Phil Vassar's heartbreaking "Postmarked Birmingham" to Robbins's romantic "Always Have, Always Will," to Stephenson's memorial "Ships of Heaven," the ballads pack a wallop. But for upbeat fair, you can turn to other songs. "I Need You All the Time" is about as fast and fun as a country song can get; "Down in Flames" is a do-or-die anthem of love; and "There You Have It" is one of country's best two-steppin songs. You might not hear them much on the radio anymore, but Blackhawk carved a nitch for themselves in country music. They still record today (their latest at this writing was "Spirit Dancer," the title track a salute to Stephenson) and perform. However, it is unlikely that they will ever overpower these early hits. Blackhawk's "Greatest Hits" is an album for country music fans new and old, for Blackhawk is a rare treat."