Through the Years: A Retrospective doesn't take its duties lightly -- it truly does attempt to present a full portrait of Kenny Rogers, from struggling musician to bona fide superstar. Helpfully, it breaks down his career into four easily digestible discs, containing 20 tracks each. The first disc is dubbed "The Vintage Years" and it doesn't just feature songs from the First Edition -- it contains revelatory material from his early groups the Scholars, the Bobby Doyle Three, and the Kirby Stone Four. The second disc is what most casual fans will treasure -- an entire disc devoted to "The Number One Hits." The third disc rounds up various singles, album tracks, and duets Rogers recorded during his late-'70s and early-'80s peak. Which, of course, leaves the fourth disc like any other final disc in a box set -- a collection of highlights from the years when the artist faded away from the spotlight. Certainly, this results in a thorough and accurate overview of his career, but that doesn't mean it's entirely listenable. Yes, hardcore fans and collectors will be interested in the first disc, but for many listeners, only the First Edition tracks will be noteworthy. Similarly, the final disc is extraneous for most tastes, leaving this little more than a very good two-disc summary of Rogers' hitmaking years. Naturally, single- and double-disc retrospectives of the hits are available elsewhere, for less money and without two extra discs, and that's what most fans will want. Nevertheless, anyone wanting a thorough summary of Rogers' entire career can't go wrong with Through the Years.