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Rare Gems Hidden in New “Playlist” Wave

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Playlist - Box TopsThe latest wave of Playlist releases is almost here from Legacy Recordings, and the series dedicated to collecting “the hits plus the fan favorites” doesn’t look to disappoint.  On January 29, Playlist volumes will be released for an eclectic cadre of artists in a variety of genres: vintage metal (Accept), traditional pop (Andy Williams), blue-eyed soul (The Box Tops), classic rock (Mountain, The Doobie Brothers, Harry Nilsson), country (Sara Evans, The Highwaymen), hip-hop (G. Love and Special Sauce, Nas), rock-and-roll (Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis) and even New Age (Yanni).  There are bona fide rarities on the volumes from Andy Williams, The Box Tops, G. Love and Special Sauce, and more.  All Playlist titles are now packaged in traditional jewel cases, and each title’s booklet contains a historical essay plus complete discographical annotation.

The late cult hero Alex Chilton got his start as the deep, soulful voice of The Box Tops, lending his pipes to the band’s classic renditions of Wayne Carson Thompson’s “The Letter,” “Soul Deep” and “Neon Rainbow,” Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham’s “Cry Like a Baby,” and so many other stone-cold Memphis classics.  Playlist: The Very Best of the Box Tops offers fourteen selections, all drawn from the group’s singles discography.  Most excitingly, all of these titles (including each song named above) are heard in their original mono single mixes.  Of the lesser-known songs, Playlist includes Chilton’s first composition released on a single, “I See Only Sunshine,” and Chilton favorite “Turn on a Dream,” penned by Mark James of “Suspicious Minds” and “Hooked on a Feeling” fame.  Southern soul-pop doesn’t get any better than this.

Playlist - Andy WilliamsWhen Howard Andrew Williams, better known as Andy Williams, died on September 25, 2012, American popular music lost one of its titans.  Like his Columbia Records contemporary Johnny Mathis, Williams blazed a musical path that allowed him to record everything from early rock and roll to lush renditions of standards, film themes, Broadway hits and MOR pop.  Ten of the fourteen tracks on Playlist: The Very Best of Andy Williams date to Andy’s 1960s heyday, with the remaining four songs from his still-vibrant 1970s period.  In the former category, you’ll hear Academy Award-winning classic “Moon River” (of course) but also three other movie tunes written by Williams’ friend Henry Mancini: “In the Arms of Love,” “Dear Heart” and “Days of Wine and Roses.”  Williams’ pop hits “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” and “Music to Watch Girls By” are also included, while two more famous cinema songs are represented from the seventies: “Speak Softly Love” from The Godfather and “Where Do I Begin” from Love Story.  Most exciting for collectors, though, will be a rare 1964 promotional single.  Written by the Li’l Abner team of Johnny Mercer and Gene DePaul, “Exercise Your Prerogative” encourages young listeners to “get the vote through on the big Election Day…let liberty and freedom live, go and exercise your prerogative!”  It’s all set to a swinging big-band chart by Dave Grusin.

After the jump: more specs on rarities, plus full track listings and pre-order links for every title!

Playlist - Harry NilssonThe Playlist entries for Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins have both been fully licensed from Sun Records and feature remastered versions of the original Sun recordings.  Chart-topping RCA Nashville recording artist Sara Evans also offers some tantalizing rarities on her Playlist volume.  The Evans disc features a cover of Barbara Mandrell’s “Crackers” originally aired on a tribute album, plus “Feels Like a Love Song,” previously available only as a digital single.    Playlist: The Very Best of the Highwaymen doesn’t just draw from the albums by the Johnny Cash-Waylon Jennings-Kris Kristofferson-Willie Nelson supergroup.  Among its tracks drawn from other sources are “The Human Condition” (the non-LP B-side to the group’s recording of Jimmy Webb’s “Highwayman”) and collaborations between various group members such as Cash and Jennings, Cash and Nelson, Jennings and Nelson, and Nelson and Kristofferson.  There are also quite a few rarities on Playlist: The Very Best of G Love and Special Sauce, including two tracks recorded for Philadelphia’s Y-100 radio station and previously available only on regionally-distributed compilation discs.  Playlist: The Very Best of Harry Nilsson doesn’t offer much in the way of rare or unknown material, but it touches all of the major bases for the singular pop troubadour.  Its fourteen selections offer some variation from those on 2006’s Everybody’s Talkin’: The Very Best of Harry Nilsson, but RCA’s 2002 Greatest Hits still offers more tracks (21).

This upcoming wave of Legacy’s Playlist titles have been remastered by engineers including Vic Anesini (Harry Nilsson, Carl Perkins, The Box Tops), Tim Sturges (Andy Williams) and Dave Donnelly (Mountain).  They’ll all become available on January 29.  You’ll find pre-order links and track listings for all titles below!

Accept, Playlist: The Very Best of Accept (Epic/Legacy 88691 95407-2, 2013)

  1. Balls to the Wall
  2. Fast As a Shark
  3. Restless and Wild
  4. Head Over Heels
  5. Neon Nights
  6. Princess of the Dawn
  7. Love Child
  8. London Leatherboys
  9. Winterdreams
  10. Midnight Mover
  11. T.V. War
  12. Russian Roulette
  13. Metal Heart
  14. Screaming for a Love Bite (Live in Japan, 1985)

The Box Tops, Playlist: The Very Best of The Box Tops (Bell/Arista/Legacy 88725 47338-2, 2013)

  1. The Letter
  2. Neon Rainbow
  3. Cry Like a Baby
  4. Choo Choo Train
  5. Fields of Clover
  6. I Met Her in Church
  7. People Gonna Talk
  8. Sweet Cream Ladies, Forward March
  9. I See Only Sunshine
  10. I Shall Be Released
  11. Soul Deep
  12. Turn On a Dream
  13. Together
  14. You Keep Tightening Up on Me

The Doobie Brothers, Playlist: The Very Best of The Doobie Brothers Live (Legacy 88725 47336-2, 2013)

  1. Jesus is Just Alright
  2. Rockin’ Down the Highway
  3. What a Fool Believes
  4. South City Midnight Lady
  5. The Doctor
  6. Neal’s Fandango
  7. Minute by Minute
  8. China Grove
  9. Dependin’ on You
  10. Slack Key Soquel Rag
  11. Black Water
  12. Long Train Runnin’
  13. Listen to the Music
  14. Without You

Sara Evans, Playlist: The Very Best of Sara Evans (RCA Nashville/Legacy 88725 43951-2, 2013)

  1. Born to Fly
  2. I Could Not Ask for More
  3. I Keep Looking
  4. No Place That Far
  5. You Don’t
  6. A Real Fine Place to Start
  7. Sweet By and By
  8. Three Chords and the Truth
  9. Suds in the Bucket
  10. Niagara
  11. Crackers
  12. Cheatin’
  13. Never Alone – Jim Brickman feat. Sara Evans
  14. Feels Just Like a Love Song

Jerry Lee Lewis, Playlist: The Very Best of Jerry Lee Lewis – The Sun Sessions (Legacy 88765 43882-2, 2013)

  1. Good Rockin’ Tonight
  2. Lewis Boogie
  3. Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On
  4. Great Balls of Fire
  5. Breathless
  6. Crazy Arms
  7. Ubangi Stomp
  8. Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
  9. Mean Woman Blues
  10. You Win Again
  11. Big Legged Woman
  12. High School Confidential
  13. Wild One (Real Wild Child)
  14. What’d I Say

G. Love & Special Sauce, Playlist: The Very Best of G. Love & Special Sauce (OKeh/Epic/Legacy 88725 43993-2, 2013)

  1. Cold Beverage
  2. Blues Music
  3. Kiss and Tell
  4. The Things That I Used to Do (Live at the Knitting Factory, 1995)
  5. Baby’s Got Sauce
  6. Sweet Sugar Mama
  7. The Beat Goes On – Leyona feat. G. Love
  8. Stepping Stones
  9. My Mom Can Surf (Live on Y-100 Philadelphia, 1996)
  10. Rodeo Clowns (Extended Mix)
  11. I-76
  12. Unified (Live on Y-100 Philadelphia, 2001)
  13. This Ain’t Living (Alternate Version)
  14. Free At Last

Mountain, Playlist: The Very Best of Mountain (Columbia/Legacy 88725 44243-2, 2013)

  1. Mississippi Queen
  2. Theme for An Imaginary Western
  3. The Animal Trainer and the Toad
  4. Nantucket Sleighride (to Owen Coffin)
  5. Never in My Life
  6. For Yasgur’s Farm
  7. Blood of the Sun – Leslie West
  8. Flowers of Evil
  9. Boys in the Band
  10. Travelin’ in the Dark (for E.M.P.)
  11. The Great Train Robbery
  12. King’s Chorale
  13. Crossroader
  14. Don’t Look Around

Nas, Playlist: The Very Best of Nas (Columbia/Legacy 88697 99579-2, 2013)

  1. Halftime
  2. Nas is Like
  3. If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) (feat. Lauryn Hill)
  4. Nastradamus
  5. Sweet Dreams
  6. One Love
  7. One Mic
  8. The World is Yours
  9. Got Ur Self A…
  10. Hate Me Now (feat. Puff Daddy)
  11. Made You Look
  12. I Can
  13. Bridging the Gap (feat. Olu Dara)
  14. It Ain’t Hard to Tell

Harry Nilsson, Playlist: The Very Best of Harry Nilsson (RCA/Legacy 88725 44704-2, 2013)

  1. One
  2. Without Her
  3. Everybody’s Talkin’ (from Midnight Cowboy)
  4. I Guess The Lord Must Be in New York City
  5. Me and My Arrow
  6. Without You
  7. Coconut
  8. Jump Into the Fire (Single Version)
  9. You’re Breakin’ My Heart
  10. Remember (Christmas)
  11. As Time Goes By
  12. Don’t Forget Me
  13. Easier for Me
  14. All I Think About is You

Carl Perkins, Playlist: The Very Best of Carl Perkins – The Sun Sessions (Legacy 88725 43819-2, 2013)

  1. Honky Tonk Gal
  2. Movie Magg
  3. Blue Suede Shoes
  4. Honey Don’t
  5. Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby
  6. Matchbox
  7. Boppin’ the Blues
  8. All Mama’s Children
  9. Put Your Cat Clothes On
  10. Dixie Fried
  11. Dixie Bop/Perkins Wiggle
  12. Gone, Gone, Gone
  13. That’s Right
  14. Her Love Rubbed Off

Various Artists, Playlist: The Very Best of The Highwaymen (Columbia/Legacy 88765 43379-2, 2013)

  1. Silver Stallion – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson
  2. American Remains – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson
  3. Desperados Waiting for a Train – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson
  4. Casey’s Last Ride – Kris Kristofferson & Willie Nelson
  5. Welfare Line – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson
  6. The Ballad of Forty Dollars – Johnny Cash & Waylon Jennings
  7. Don’t Cuss the Fiddle – Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson
  8. Big River – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson
  9. Against the Wind – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson & Johnny Cash
  10. Eye of the Storm – Willie Nelson & Kris Kristofferson
  11. The Human Condition – Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson
  12. Living Legend – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson
  13. The Greatest Cowboy of Them All – Johnny Cash & Waylon Jennings
  14. Highwayman – Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash & Kris Kristofferson

Andy Williams, Playlist: The Very Best of Andy Williams (Columbia/Legacy 88725 43871-2, 2013)

  1. Moon River
  2. Danny Boy
  3. Dear Heart
  4. (Where Do I Begin) Love Story
  5. Can’t Get Used to Losing You
  6. I Can’t Stop Loving You
  7. Love Theme from The Godfather (Speak Softly Love)
  8. Days of Wine and Roses
  9. Can’t Help Falling in Love
  10. Exercise Your Prerogative
  11. The Peking Theme (So Little Time)
  12. Music to Watch Girls By
  13. In the Arms of Love
  14. You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Yanni, Playlist: The Very Best of Yanni (Windham Hill/Legacy 88725 44054-2, 2013)

  1. Once Upon a Time
  2. Chasing Shadows
  3. Flight of Fantasy
  4. In the Mirror
  5. Marching Season
  6. The Rain Must Fall
  7. Swept Away
  8. Nostalgia
  9. Aria
  10. A Lust for Life
  11. To the One Who Knows
  12. Santorini (Live At The Acropolis)
  13. Acroyali/Standing in Motion (Live At The Acropolis)
  14. Reflections of Passion (Live At The Acropolis)

7 Responses

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  1. Why do the people at Sony always leave off the Andy Williams MOR hit, “Home Lovin’ Man” on every compilation? Not only that, but they omitted “Happy Heart” as well. This Playlist release is hardly a Very Best Of! Shame on them!


    January 21, 2013 at 20:09

  2. Is it only the Box Tops collection that is presented in mono? I would like to get the singles mixes of the Andy Williams 60s tracks.
    I couldn’t figure out how Sony was releasing a Doobie Brothers collection as they were a Warner act, until I noticed it is a live album. So I guess these are later recordings, and not from the band’s 70s heyday.

    Jason Michael

    January 21, 2013 at 23:16

    • Indeed, that Doobies set is an exact clone of a Sony CMG title from the late ’90s – itself a cut down version of the “Rockin’ Down the Highway: The Wildlife Concert” 2CD set.

      Call me weird, but I’ve been getting a lot of enjoyment out of the last two or three Playlist batches. In the vast wasteland of budget-minded comps (UMG’s 20th Century Masters and Icon series seem at war with each other in terms of who and where they’re marketed), I find a lot of the Playlist sets willing to be a little fun and offbeat every now and again.

      Mike Duquette

      January 23, 2013 at 15:29

  3. The only best overall Andy Williams was the 16 Biggest Hits that gave a fair sampling of his Cadence stuff along with the best of the Columbia 60s stuff. This Playlist is nothing more than another money grab.

    RS Crabb

    January 23, 2013 at 12:15

    • I have the 16 Biggest Hits and it is great. That’s why I asked about mono- it’s the only thing that would make me buy this new collection. I’ll be picking up the Box Tops for that reason. I have the old Atlantic Ultimate Box Tops and it is a fine collection but I like to compare the stereo and mono mixes.

      Jason Michael

      January 23, 2013 at 13:07

      • The Andy “Playlist” is, indeed, in stereo. You could certainly count me in for a mono singles collection, however!

        And if you don’t have “Exercise Your Prerogative,” it’s a great performance by Andy of an atypical Johnny Mercer/Gene dePaul tune, with a fantastic Dave Grusin arrangement.

        Joe Marchese

        January 23, 2013 at 13:15

  4. For ten bucks you can get the 3CD (60 track) “Real Andy Williams” from Sony UK.


    January 23, 2013 at 16:03

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