The Ultimate Collection
is quite different from the two-disc George Benson overviews that preceded it, including The George Benson Anthology
. Like that 2000-released set, this one was also issued through Rhino, though there are only 17 tracks of overlap. The Ultimate Collection
has even less in common with Legacy's The Essential George Benson
(2006), which naturally favors Benson's Columbia and CTI output. The heart here is 1976-1983, an era during which Benson recorded for Warner and was regularly listed in the Top Ten of the Billboard R&B singles chart. All of those tremendous major hits are here, as are some less popular but solid A-sides and deeper cuts from that period. Only one selection, "White Rabbit," predates the 1976 commercial breakthrough "Breezin'," while several of Benson's varied albums from 20/20
through Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole
, released on Warner, GRP, and Concord, among other labels, are represented in some form. The smart selections, along with the liner notes, make for a fine representation of Benson's career from the late '70s through 2013.