Personnel: Kenny Rogers (vocals); Dolly Parton, Dottie West, Kim Carnes, Ronnie Milsap, Sheena Easton, Billy Dean, Whitney Duncan (vocals).
Though the sheer number of Kenny Rogers hits suggests that best-of compilations will continue to endlessly appear over the years, few of the many collections issued have attempted to capture the full range of the bearded country/pop singer's art. For listeners not quite ready to commit to Capitol/EMI's mammoth four-disc THROUGH THE YEARS: A RETROSPECTIVE box set, 42 ULTIMATE HITS provides a nicely comprehensive overview.
Beginning with the trippy backwards guitar of the First Edition classic "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," the collection offers a five-track sampling from Rogers's late-1960s/early-70's folk-rock years. The collection then delves into a broad selection of his best-known work, from the country tale of "The Gambler" to the smash Dolly Parton pop duet "Islands in the Stream." In addition, 42 ULTIMATE HITS includes key tracks from the '90s and three previously unreleased songs, making this double-disc package one of the most satisfying Kenny Rogers sets available.