Album Details

March 10, 2009
Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Early R&B, Pop-Soul, Brill Building Pop, Uptown Soul

Album Review

It's universally acknowledged among critics and fans that Maxine Brown was at her peak when she was on the Wand label in the mid-'60s. Since Ace/Kent also covered this period on its fine prior compilation Oh No Not My Baby: The Best of Maxine Brown, it's not quite clear why this 28-track CD was necessary, covering as it does much of the same ground. The differences aren't just a matter of packaging: though Oh No Not My Baby also had 28 tracks, nine of them don't appear on Best of the Wand Years (that's counting "I Want a Guarantee," represented this time around by a previously unissued version with an alternate vocal). Some of the cuts that didn't make the journey to the more recent CD, alas, are good ones, like "Ask Me," "I Don't Need Anything," and "I Cry Alone." As some compensation, Best of the Wand Years does have four previously unissued tracks, two of them ("That's All I Want from You" and "If I Had Known") being of special interest, as they were written for her by Otis Redding during a brief time in which he was producing her, shortly before Redding's death. Best of the Wand Years also has more thorough, and more thoroughly illustrated, liner notes. Yet ultimately the song selection for Oh No Not My Baby: The Best of Maxine Brown, and Varese Sarabande's 25 All Time Greatest Hits, is slightly superior, particularly for the inclusion of the great 1963 pop-soul single "Ask Me" -- a puzzling omission from Best of the Wand Years, especially as it was one of her more popular 45s. You don't lose out much by getting Best of the Wand Years, but it can't quite be tagged as the definitive Brown compilation.
Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. One in a Million
  2. It's Torture
  3. Let Me Give You My Lovin'
  4. I Want a Guarantee [Alt Vocal][#]
  5. Yesterday's Kisses
  6. Wonder What My Baby's Doing Tonight
  7. Oh No, Not My Baby
  8. Love That Man
  9. You're in Love
  10. Gotta Find a Way
  11. Al I Falling in Love
  12. She's Got Everything
  13. Little Girl Lost
  14. Baby Cakes
  15. The Secret of Livin'
  16. Why Did I Choose You [#]
  17. Everybody Needs Love
  18. Misty Morning Eyes
  19. Since I Found You
  20. Whatever Happened to Our Love
  21. One Step at a Time
  22. Put Yourself in My Place
  23. That's All I Want from You [#]
  24. Anything for a Laugh
  25. Losing My Touch
  26. Oh Lord, What Are You Doing to Me
  27. If I Had Known [#]
  28. It's Gonna Be Alright