The Essential Cris Williamson

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/14/2005
  • Label: Cd Baby
  • UPC: 618106540728
  • Catalog Number: 5637258408
  • Sales rank: 370,413

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Waterfall (5:21)
  2. 2 What Good Does It Do Me Now (3:30)
  3. 3 True Story/True Blue (4:20)
  4. 4 Texas Ruby Red (3:34)
  5. 5 The Stones from Helen's Field (6:01)
  6. 6 On Going (3:31)
  7. 7 Wishbook (3:34)
  8. 8 If I Live (I'll Be Great) (2:56)
  9. 9 We the People (5:28)
  10. 10 I Wish You Love (2:27)
  11. 11 Hieroglyphics (3:09)
  12. 12 Songbird (2:57)
  13. 13 Tea Leaf Prophecy (Lay Down Your Arms) (5:02)
  14. 14 Azulão (Op. 21) (2:01)
  15. 15 I've Learned to Let Things Go (3:35)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Song of the Soul (4:29)
  2. 2 Waiting (3:24)
  3. 3 Mother, Mother (3:55)
  4. 4 Strange Paradise (4:32)
  5. 5 The John Deere Song (3:40)
  6. 6 Don't Lose Heart (4:00)
  7. 7 Colorado Dustbowl Days (4:13)
  8. 8 Soulful Days (5:02)
  9. 9 Goodnight, Marjorie Morningstar (5:49)
  10. 10 Ashes (4:24)
  11. 11 Cry, Cry, Cry (4:36)
  12. 12 Native Dancer (4:28)
  13. 13 Soaring (4:32)
  14. 14 Come Hell or High Water (3:34)
  15. 15 Joanna (4:24)
  16. 16 Lullabye (2:40)
  17. 17 Midnight Oil (3:11)
  18. 18 Blue Rider (4:12)
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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, 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, 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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