The Very Best … and Beyond is a greatest hits album by the band Foreigner released through Atlantic Records. The collection spans the band's history from 1977 through 1987, and includes three new tracks recorded in 1992. The compilation skips over the period in the late 1980s and early 1990s when vocalist Lou Gramm had left the band, omitting any songs from the 1991 album Unusual Heat.
Whether it was singing with Big Brother And The Holding Company or with her Full Tilt Boogie Band, Janis Joplin had one of the most identifiable, most emotional and most soulful voices ever recorded. Coming to San Francisco from Texas in 1966, Janis soon had the music world’s total attention, simply blowing the audience away at Monterey in 1967 while fronting Big Brother and gaining a record deal with Columbia Records in the process. After that, it was hit after hit with songs like her signature Piece Of My Heart, Cry Baby, and her Number One take of Kris Kristofferson’s present day standard Me And Bobby McGee, all included here. Through it all, Janis Joplin established herself as one of the very best and one of the most important singers and song interpreters ever to hit the music scene.
The first five chronologically sequenced tracks of this compilation mirror the rise of the smooth-jazz radio phenomenon. "So Amazing," "Bermuda Nights," "In the Mood," "My, My, My," and "Anniversary" are all still staples of the format. Released between 1987 and 1990, all (except the second one) are covers of popular R&B tunes, and they still sound fresh. These songs alone make this an excellent collection for smooth-jazz fans. Starting with his fifth album, Live at Birdland West, the exciting tenor saxophonist became a little more adventurous, often completely crossing that broad line that separates smooth jazz from contemporary electric jazz. Two duets–one with Lee Ritenour, "G & Lee," and "Boss of Nova," with Joe Sample–are two examples of his playing that sets Albright apart from most saxophonists who are tagged with the smooth-jazz label. Serious Albright fans may not appreciate the absence of his popular duets with his frequent partner, vocalist Will Downing, but that aside, this is a worthy summation of Albright's successful tenure at Atlantic Records.
Since Rhino released an exhaustive four-disc ZZ Top box in October 2003, some may question the appearance of a double-disc retrospective in June 2004, a mere eight months after the box set. The two may be released awfully close to each other, but they do play to different audiences – in other words, there are a bunch of fans who want all the hits, but not a full box set, and that's what the 38-track Rancho Texicano: The Very Best of ZZ Top delivers…