If Rhino had merely combined Linda Ronstadt
's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1
and volume two, they would have a compilation that captured her at her peak. They didn't do that for 2002's The Very Best of Linda Ronstadt, but they did follow that basic blueprint very closely, with 16 of the 21 songs culled from her '70s heyday, with the remaining five drawing from her late-'80s/early-'90s adult contemporary comeback, including "Don't' Know Much" and "Somewhere out There." That these songs don't quite fit musically with the laid-back Californian soft rock of the '70s doesn't matter, nor does it matter that her excursions into other genres -- her traditional pop albums with Nelson Riddle
, her Mexican records, her country albums with Trio -- are missing ("Different Drum" with the Stone Poneys
is here), because this collection expertly delivers her biggest hits in an enjoyable fashion with very little fat. Those original hits records remain first-rate, but it's nicer to get all of these on one disc instead of two.