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Recommended Greatest Hits & Best-Of Albums

The Cream of the Crop


Are you new to R&B, or maybe confused by all the various best-of and greatest hits albums that are floating around out there on the market? Well never fear - your Guide to R&B's here to help. A lot of R&B and Soul artists who have been around 10 years or more have had multiple greatest hits and/or best-of albums released, but not all of them are created equal. So if you're trying to figure out which ones are worth your time and money, behold: here are the about.com picks for the best Best-Ofs, Essentials and Greatest Hits packages, featuring releases by R. Kelly, Mary J. Blige, Prince and others.

1. "The R. in R&B Collection Vol. 1," R. Kelly

R. Kelly is one of the most talented male R&B artists of modern times, & The R. In R&B Collection drives that point home.

1. Bump N' Grind
2. Your Body's Callin'
3. Sex Me (Part I) (Radio Edit)
4. You Remind Me Of Something
5. Ignition (Remix)
6. Down Low (Nobody Has To Know) feat. The Isley Bros.
7. When A Woman's Fed Up (Radio Version)
8. Step In The Name Of Love (Remix)
9. Thoia Thoing
10 Touched A Dream
11 Fiesta (Remix) feat. Jay-Z and Boo & Gotti
12 I Wish (Radio Edit)
13 Ghetto Religion (Wyclef Jean feat. R. Kelly)
14 Honey Love (R. Kelly and Public Announcement)
15 She's Got That Vibe (R. Kelly & Public Announcement)
16 The World's Greatest (Radio Edit)
17 I'm Your Angel (R. Kelly & Celine Dion)
18 I Believe I Can Fly

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2. "Reflections: A Retrospective," Mary J. Blige

This greatest hits/best-of package, which came out in December 2006 also has four new songs, including the single "We Ride." The new material, along with a smart selection of some of her older material, makes Reflections a gem for devoted Mary fans.

1. Reflections (I Remember)
2. We Ride (I See the Future)
3. You Know
4. King & Queen (with John Legend)
5. No More Drama
6. Family Affair
7. Real Love
8. No One Will Do
9. Be Without You
10 I'm Going Down
11 911
12 Not Gon' Cry
13 My Life '06
14 Be Happy
15 I'll Be There For You/You're All I Need to Get By (with Method Man)

3. "The Hits/The B Sides," Prince

The Hits/The B Sides contains 56 tracks on three discs spanning Prince's first 15 years as a performer. It also includes a 22-page photo booklet, plus extensive liner notes and track annotations about previously unreleased material, live recordings and B-sides. It's a must-have for devoted Prince fans because of the third disc, which is a collection of Prince's rare and previously unreleased material.
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4. "Aretha's Best," Aretha Franklin

The package is a perfect blend of her material from the 1960s and '70s along with a few of her best newer songs.

1. Respect
2. Think
3. Freeway Of Love
4. Baby, I Love You
5. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
6. Day Dreaming
7. I Say A Little Prayer
8. The House That Jack Built
9. [Sweet Sweet Baby] Since You've Been Gone
10 Spanish Harlem
11 Jump To It
12 I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) with George Michael
13 Chain Of Fools
14 Rock Steady
15 Who's Zoomin' Who
16 Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)
17 I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
18 Call Me
19 Do Right Woman - Do Right Man
20 Bridge Over Troubled Water

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5. "Legacy: The Greatest Hits," Boyz II Men

This collection, which came out in 2001, is "only" 13 songs deep, but it's the right 13 songs. And in the right sequence.

1. Motownphilly
2. It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday
3. End of the Road
4. In the Still of the Night (I'll Remember)
5. Hey Lover (LL Cool J feat. Boyz II Men)
6. I'll Make Love to You
7. On Bended Knee
8. Water Runs Dry
9. One Sweet Day (Boyz II Men & Mariah Carey)
10 Doin' Just Fine
11 4 Seasons of Loneliness
12 Song for Mama
13 Pass You By

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6. "The Definitive Collection," Stevie Wonder

Released in 2002, this package is slightly better than the other Stevie greatest hits packages that proceeded it mainly due to song selection. That, and the warm portrait of Stevie that serves as the album cover.

1. Fingertips, Part 2
2. Uptight (Everything's Alright)
3. Hey Love
4. I Was Made To Love Her
5. For Once In My Life
6. My Cherie Amour
7. Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)
8. You Are The Sunshine Of My Life
9. Superstition
10 Higher Ground
11 Living For The City
12 You Haven't Done Nothin'
13 Boogie On Reggae Woman
14 I Wish
15 Sir Duke
16 Master Blaster (Jammin')
17 That Girl

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7. "The Ultimate Isley Brothers," The Isley Bros.

Released in 2000, this 17-track set is superior to the Isleys' "essential" and "greatest hits" packages because its neither overblown nor skimpy, like some of the other collections are.

1. It's Your Thing
2. That Lady (Part 1 & 2)
3. Harvest For The World
4. Work To Do
5. Spill The Wine
6. Summer Breeze
7. Caravan Of Love (Isley, Jasper, Isley)
8. For The Love Of You (Part 1 & 2)
9. Groove With You
10 Twist And Shout
11 Live It Up (Part 1)
12 Fight The Power (Part 1) [Explicit]
13 The Pride (Part 1)
14 Shout (Part 1 & 2)
15 Love The One You're With
16 Between The Sheets
17 Don't Say Goodnight (It's Time For Love) (Part I & 2)

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8. "Every Great Motown Hit," Marvin Gaye

Released in 1983 (& re-released in 2000), this album's superior to Marvin's other best-of collections based on the songs used & the order they're sequenced in.

1. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)
2. Your Precious Love (feat. Tammi Terrell)
3. Ain't That Peculiar
4. If I Could Build My Whole World Around You (feat. Tammi Terrell)
5. That's the Way Love Is
6. You're All I Need to Get By (feat. Tammi Terrell)
7. I'll Be Doggone
8. I Heard It Through the Grapevine
9. Too Busy Thinking About My Baby
10 What's Going On
11 Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing (feat. Tammi Terrell)
12 Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
13 Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
14 Trouble Man
15 Let's Get It On
16 Distant Lover
17 Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1

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9. "The Ultimate Otis Redding," Otis Redding

To be honest, you can't go wrong buying any compilation of Otis's best work, but Ultimate Otis has a few more songs than some of the other greatest hits packages by him, thus giving you more for your money.

1. Respect
2. Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay
3. These Arms of Mine
4. Pain in My Heart
5. Come to Me
6. Security
7. That's How Strong My Love Is
8. Mr. Pitiful
9. I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)
10 Satisfaction (I Can't Get No)
11 Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)
12 Try a Little Tenderness
13 Chained and Bound
14 Shake
15 Ole Man Trouble
16 Let Me Come on Home
17 Open the Door
18 That's What My Heart Needs
19 Tramp
20 I Can't Turn You Loose

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10. "20 All-Time Greatest Hits!," James Brown

This one's chock full of the Godfather of Soul's best, but without a bunch of filler material.

1. I Got You (I Feel Good)
2. (Get Up I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine, Pt. 1
3. I Got The Feelin'
4. Mother Popcorn (Part 1)
5. Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose
6. Make It Funky (Part 1)
7. Papa's Got A Brand New Bag (Part 1)
8. Think
9. It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World
10 Try Me
11 Night Train
12 Cold Sweat
13 Get On The Good Foot, Pt. 1
14 Papa Don't Take No Mess (Part 1)
15 The Payback
16 Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud (Pt. 1)
17 Super Bad (Parts 1 & 2)
18 Hot Pants Pt. 1 (She Got To Use What She Got To Get What She Wants)
19 Get Up Offa That Thing
20 Please, Please, Please

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11. "Ultimate Hits Collection," Ray Charles

CD 1:
1 Mess Around
2 I Got a Woman
3 Fool for You
4 Greenbacks
5 Drown in My Own Tears
6 Hallelujah, I Love Her So
7 Lonely Avenue
8 Ain't That Love
9 Night Time Is the Right Time
10 What'd I Say, Pts. 1 & 2
11 Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying
12 Them That Got
13 Sticks and Stones
14 Georgia on My Mind
15 Ruby
16 One Mint Julep
17 I've Got News for You

CD 2:
1 Hit the Road Jack
2 Unchain My Heart
3 But on the Other Hand Baby
4 Hide nor Hair
5 At the Club
6 I Can't Stop Loving You
7 You Don't Know Me
8 You Are My Sunshine
9 Don't Set Me Free
10 Take These Chains from My Heart
11 No One
12 Busted
13 Crying Time
14 Together Again
15 Let's Go Get Stoned
16 Yesterday
17 America the Beautiful
18 Seven Spanish Angels
19 I'll Be Good to You

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12. "A Donny Hathaway Collection," Donny Hathaway

Fifteen beautifully melancholy songs that will make you long for more from this musical genius.

1. A Song For You
2. I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know
3. You Were Meant For Me Donny Hathaway
4. Back Together Again (Roberta Flack feat. Donny Hathaway)
5. Where Is The Love (feat. Roberta Flack)
6. For All We Know (with Roberta Flack)
7. Someday We'll All Be Free
8. Giving Up
9. The Closer I Get To You (Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack)
10 You Are My Heaven (Roberta Flack feat. Donny Hathaway)
11 What's Going On (Live @ The Troubadour, Hollywood CA)
12 The Ghetto, Pt. 1 (Edited LP Version)
13 To Be Young, Gifted And Black
14 You've Got A Friend (Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway)
15 This Christmas

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