The Essential Cris Williamson

The Essential Cris Williamson

by Cris WilliamsonCris Williamson


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Although it sounds like a good idea, having an artist pick the songs for her own compilation sometimes can lead to unsatisfying results. Artists are likely to lean more heavily than fans would like on their more recent material; to exclude fan favorites about which they have idiosyncratic objections or are just bored with; and to include personal favorites that nobody ever liked but them. Add, in Cris Williamson's case, the situation that the artist, despite a successful career dating back to the mid-'60s, has never enjoyed a hit in the conventional sense, and the likelihood of a highly subjective compilation is compounded. It is therefore some relief to report that the two-hour-and-13-minute, two-CD collection The Essential Cris Williamson, the most comprehensive of four Williamson compilations to be released, is basically an excellent précis of the artist's extensive catalog. "Although I'm not certain these would be your essential Cris Williamson tunes," she writes, addressing her fervent fan base, "I am confident that these ones will represent in a good medicine way, songs which span more than 30 years of work." What omissions are those fans likely to note? First and foremost, the relative absence of tracks from Williamson's best-known album, The Changer and the Changed. She seems to acknowledge that record's importance by beginning each disc of the non-chronological set with a song from it, leading off disc one with "Waterfall" and disc two with "Song of the Soul." But "Sweet Woman" (included on both 1983's Portrait and 1990's The Best of Cris Williamson) is missing, as are any other tracks from The Changer and the Changed. And, true to form, Williamson does lean somewhat toward more recent fare in her choices, selecting, for example, four songs from 2003's Cris & Holly (a duo album with Holly Near). But there is some balance throughout her catalog, with songs dating all the way back to 1971's Cris Williamson. And the overall selection is much better than that on The Best of Cris Williamson (more than half of which has been deemed inessential) and much closer to being an expanded version of the superior Portrait (with only three songs missing from that set). Fans no doubt will carp (e.g., where's "Surrender Dorothy"?), but compilations aren't really made for fans (even though, as usual, they are baited by the inclusion of two previously unreleased tracks, covers of Bonnie Hayes' "Hieroglyphics" and the 1950s standard "I Wish You Love"). Compilations are made for fans to buy as presents for neophytes. And The Essential Cris Williamson should serve that purpose well; someone who had never heard Williamson's music before would be likely to get both an accurate and a positive impression of her body of work by listening to it.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/14/2005
Label: Cd Baby
UPC: 0618106540728
catalogNumber: 5637258408
Rank: 122989


Disc 1

  1. Waterfall
  2. What Good Does It Do Me Now
  3. True Story/True Blue
  4. Texas Ruby Red
  5. The Stones from Helen's Field
  6. On Going
  7. Wishbook
  8. If I Live (I'll Be Great)
  9. We the People
  10. I Wish You Love
  11. Hieroglyphics
  12. Songbird
  13. Tea Leaf Prophecy (Lay Down Your Arms)
  14. Azulão (Op. 21)
  15. I've Learned to Let Things Go

Disc 2

  1. Song of the Soul
  2. Waiting
  3. Mother, Mother
  4. Strange Paradise
  5. The John Deere Song
  6. Don't Lose Heart
  7. Colorado Dustbowl Days
  8. Soulful Days
  9. Goodnight, Marjorie Morningstar
  10. Ashes
  11. Cry, Cry, Cry
  12. Native Dancer
  13. Soaring
  14. Come Hell or High Water
  15. Joanna
  16. Lullabye
  17. Midnight Oil
  18. Blue Rider

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Cris Williamson   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals,fender rhodes
Laurie Lewis   Fiddle,Background Vocals
David Hayes   Musician
Meg Christian   Vocals,Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Classical Guitar
Tret Fure   Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals
Holly Near   Background Vocals
Linda Tillery   Background Vocals
Bonnie Raitt   Background Vocals
Chuck Rainey   Musician
Grady Tate   Musician
Jay Berliner   Musician
Shelby Flint   Background Vocals,fender rhodes
Bonnie Hayes   Piano,Keyboards
June Millington   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Crumar Orchestrator
Woody Simmons   Choir, Chorus
Todd Phillips   Bass,Acoustic Bass
Michael Zager   Musician
David Nadien   Musician
Margie Adam   Tack Piano
John Bucchino   Piano,Keyboards
Bobi Jackson   Choir, Chorus
Leo Adamian   Drums
Sanford Allen   Musician
Julien Barber   Musician
Richlyn Barnard   Choir, Chorus
Carrie Barton   Bass
Ginny Berson   Choir, Chorus
Arnold Black   Musician
Robin Brooks   Choir, Chorus
Frederick Buldrini   Musician
Stef Burns   Electric Guitar
David Carey   Musician
Judy Chilnick   Percussion
Selwart Clarke   Musician
Jeremy Cohen   Violin
Melbourne Cranshaw   Musician
Sally Dorbritz   Choir, Chorus
John Eckert   Musician
Bernard Eichen   Musician
Lewis Eley   Musician
Max Ellen   Musician
Rik Elswit   Musician
John Frosk   Musician
Jacqueline Furman   Percussion
Eric Gale   Musician
Russell George   Musician
Nina Gerber   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Paul Gershman   Musician
Pat Greene   Choir, Chorus
Kevin Hayes   Drums
Diane Lindsay   Bass
Joan Lowe   Background Vocals
Padi Macheta   Choir, Chorus
Margot McFedries   Choir, Chorus
Homer Mensch   Musician
Sally Van Meter   Dobro
Kermit Moore   Musician
Marin Morganstern   Musician
Frank Owens   Musician
Jill Paladino   Choir, Chorus
Kim Paladino   Choir, Chorus
Evan Paxton   Choir, Chorus
Raoul Poliakin   Musician
Matthew Raimondi   Musician
Vicki Randle   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Frances Reid   Choir, Chorus
George Ricci   Musician
Margaret Ross   Musician
Tom Salisbury   Musician
Stuart Scharf   Musician
Aram Schefrin   Musician
Tom Schwabenlunder   Musician
Harvey Shapiro   Musician
Alan Shulman   Musician
Jami Sieber   Cello
David Spinozza   Musician
Julie Stevens   Choir, Chorus
Cheryl Swannack   Choir, Chorus
Sue Talbot   Choir, Chorus
Annette Vito   Musician
Becky Williamson   Choir, Chorus
Kate Winter   Choir, Chorus
Jeanette Wrate   Drums
Paul van Wageningen   Drums
Emanuel Vardi   Musician
Novi Novog   Viola
Robin Flower   Mandolin
Adrienne Torf   Keyboards
Jackie Robbins   Bass,Cello,Background Vocals,Fretless Bass Guitar
Teressa Adams   Musician
Cam Davis   Drums,Background Vocals,Foot Percussion,Brushes
Sam Leigh Brown   Musician
Benny Reitveld   Bass Guitar
Julie Aldwell   Background Vocals
Janelle Burdell   Percussion
Frank Gayer Martin   Keyboards
Donald Ashworth   Musician
Raymond Gniewek   Musician

Technical Credits

Tret Fure   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Holly Near   Producer
Teresa Trull   Arranger,Producer
Joni Mitchell   Composer
Cris Williamson   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
Mary Watkins   Orchestration
Bonnie Hayes   Composer
June Millington   Producer
Charles Trénet   Composer
John Bucchino   Composer
Jane Clark   Engineer
Leslie Ann Jones   Engineer
Larry Klein   Composer
Eddie Kramer   Engineer
Howie Lindeman   Engineer
Joan Lowe   Engineer
Vicki Randle   Composer
Betty Rowland   Producer
Irene Young   Cover Photo
Gary Marks   Composer
Albert Beach   Composer
Frank Gayer Martin   String Arrangements
Tom Size   Engineer

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