Unnecessary third reissue of re-recorded hits
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 11/02/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"This is a truly surprising release for Varese. Not only is it an unnecessary addition to the market, but the titling and small-print disclaimer on the back are bound to mislead casual buyers in record stores.Though the title proclaims on the front cover "20 Number One Hits," one has to read the tiny print on the rear insert to learn that "all songs are new recordings of Merle Haggard's #1 Hits recorded between 1994 and 1995." Aside from the poor construction of the disclaimer (the covers were recorded between 1994 and 1995, while the original #1 hits were recorded between 1967 and 1981), its location seems like a cheap marketing gimmick. No doubt many unwary buyers will pick this out of the bin thinking its a good sampler of Haggard's classic hits. Especially so given that the rear cover's track listing is annotated with the original chart information. Beyond this misdirection, it's unclear what need there is for this disc in the first place. The re-recorded tracks presented here are available on not one, but two in-print discs: 1998's "16 Biggest Hits," and 1999's "For the Record: 43 Legendary Hits." True, this disc offers 20 tracks, rather than 16 or 43, but that's a quibble.To get to the heart of the matter, one has to ask whether or not these latter-day reinterpretations offer something over the readily available original recordings. For the most part the answer is no. Haggard's maturity as an artist doesn't pay many additional dividends. The songs are great, the Hag is great, but so were they when originally recorded. Worse, by recording them over a two-year period the songs are robbed of the variety invested over the 14 years in which the original hits were waxed. The band (Haggard's road band, The Strangers) are certainly the right backing combo, just as they were on the original recordings - there's just nothing new here. This disc is certainly a solid spin (how could Haggard singing these songs not be?), but these re-recordings are no substitute for the originals, and their third reissue, in a package that makes it unclear they're not the original hit recordings, is not up to Varese's usual standard of excellence."
The same remakes as used on other discs
Bradley Olson | Bemidji, MN United States | 09/19/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The versions of the hits on this collection are not the originals on Capitol and MCA, but rather the 1994-1995 remakes that are often licensed and are owned by Sony/ATV Tree music. These remakes are also on "16 Biggest Hits," "For The Record: 43 Legendary Hits," "Super Hits," and other CD's. If you have any of these other collections, you basically have this collection but in a different package and the originals are much superior to this collection."
Watch out, Remake Alert
Cory L. Schwent | Bloomsdale, MO United States | 08/13/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"A few years ago, Merle Haggard sat down and remade almost all of his biggest hits in a mamoth recording session. Now all of these songs are spreading around to every cheap record company who repackages them.
Be careful, everything here is remakes."