Al Green • Capitol • Feb 1997

Theoretically, an Al Green box set should have been easy to assemble, given the overall excellence of his material, but the four-disc Anthology is a textbook example of a botched box set. Instead of simply condensing the best of Green's prolific output, including all of the hit singles, onto collection, the compilers were concerned with telling a story -- literarly. Three of the discs are spiked with lengthy interview segments, one which is as long as five minutes. Furthermore, they wanted to add as many rarities as possible, but most of the rarities were live tracks, which means classics like "I Can't Get Next to You," "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, " "Love and Happiness, " "Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy), " and "L-O-V-E (Love)" are all presented in inferior live versions. The live cuts, interviews and rarities cut severely into the pacing of the set, and they don't make Anthology useful for the fan that wants to pick up one, definitive collection -- their appeal is solely for collectors, who already have the material elsewhere. Consequently, Anthology isn't useful for either the casual or dedicated fan, both of whom would be better off with the original albums and the Greatest Hits collection, which does contain the essence of Al Green, and most of his hits, on one single-disc. - Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide