Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
Reba McEntire has enjoyed a long career as one of country's superstars. This consists of 3 chronologically arranged CDs, starting with her number 1, How Blue,
from 1984 through her most recent top 5, Because of You
, a duet with Kelly Clarkson from 2007. There are no new songs, alterative takes or anything else that a collector might want. In fact, a few hits are missing, including her first two number ones Can't Even Get the Blues
and You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving.
McEntire tended to mix her styles over the years between country and glossy pop. Her first few hits here - How Blue and Somebody Should Leave were both squarely country. Over the years, however, McEntire veered increasingly towards a pop sound as evidenced by such songs as Forever Love from 1998 and I'm a Survivor from 2005.
No one could accuse McEntire of being a trail blazer, though she did have a role in delivering strong woman and message songs. She is not a songwriter (she wrote only Only In My Mind), so her role is really a song interpreter, and she has done a fine job of that over the years along with picking songs that suit her style. McEntire captures the heartache and emotion of Whoever's in New England and The Greatest Man I Never Knew perfectly. She also deserves tremendous credit for cutting She Thinks His Name Was John about AIDs.
The CD, which is for those looking for an overview of her career or a complete McEntire set since there is nothing new, showcases the breadth of McEntire. With a winning personality and a slew of hits, she has endured.