Anna Mae Bullock, the poor black girl from Nutbush, Tennessee has come a long way. We know her more famously as Tina Turner whose career thus far has stretched forty-four years – an exceptional, indelible feat in itself especially in an era where the music business lacks any sort of equilibrium and when contemporary popstars last as long as a pint of milk.
Turner’s career can be split in two definite parts, the first being her partnership/marriage to Ike Turner and then her post-Ike solo success. All The Best takes a trip down the latter memory lane but with a couple of inevitable nods to the Ike- era material with the obligatory River Deep Mountain High, Proud Mary and Nutbush City Limits; songs which Turner has continued to sing live.
Along with other greatest hits compilations such as Simply The Best in 1991, 1993’s What’s Love Got To Do With It and 1994’s Collected Recordings, the results on this disc are entertaining but predictable as it reels off the hits one by one.
However, what is frustrating and stupidly popular about these ‘best of’ albums is the continued inclusions of previously unreleased or new tracks. Of course their purpose acts as an incentive to buy the CD and there is nothing wrong with adding them on at the end as bonus material. But placing them within the track listing and expecting people not to notice that they’re not hits is surely contradictory to the whole point of such compilations.
Here, the first track is Turner’s latest single Open Arms, hardly a greatest hit, though a get-out clause is that the album is titled All The Best and so technically allows for new material if it’s ranked among her most successful tracks. Unreleased songs include Complicated Disaster and Something Special, which was actually left behind from Turner’s 1996 Trevor Horn-produced album, Wildest Dreams.
Her lengthy career has seen her looked up to by many female artists, in particular blues queen Janis Joplin who openly admired and some say even copied the balsy R&B singer during the Ike And Tina Turner Revue in the sixties. What this compilation shows is that Turner also has an army of male artist fans. Bryan Adams, Sting, Phil Spector, Bono, Mark Knopfler, David Bowie and Italian singer Eros Ramazotti all have credits of some sort on this collection.
All The Best won’t be to every fan’s taste, especially when Undercover Agent For The Blues and Whatever You Want are omitted to make room for duds such as her Cher Believe-phase impersonation with When The Heartache Is Over and the soppy Why Must We Wait Until Tonight. But she can be forgiven when listening to Steamy Windows and her cover of Al Green‘s Let’s Stay Together, which was the song that replanted her career in the early 80s.
For much of the past five years, Turner has been enjoying luxurious semi-retirement in plush parts of Europe, having chosen to abandon her phenomenally popular, electrifying and highly-acclaimed touring career which has caused much of her success.So while she’s toying with acting or a possibility of recording in the near future, her fans can make do with this compilation, craftily released in time for filling that Christmas stocking.