We also get a sampling of her many duets including the slow ballad “Lovers After All” with Peabo Bryson, the previously unreleased “A Mother and Father's Prayer” with Collin Raye, and the very jazzy, old-fashioned “I Can't Get Started” with her long-time bassist, John Cooker LoPresti. For this one, Manchester shows major reverence for Billie Holiday with lyrics going way, way back, referring to Greta Garbo and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The album features two newer songs including the beautiful, lyrical “Rainbird” from the 2010 film, Dirty Girl, co-written with actress Mary Steenburgen.
The grand finale shows off Manchester’s deeper, lower register for the live 2011 Gospel-flavored “I Know Who I Am,” from Colored Girls. By the time you hear this one it’s become abundantly clear few singers have the range and power of Manchester’s voice, and fewer who can convincingly sing hits suitable for Soul Train, soaring anthems for Hollywood titles, or introspective ballads with equal ease.
Again, Manchester completists will need this collection only for the rarities they don’t already have. In the main, this is a gentle package for those who may know Manchester only for the songs that got frequent airplay and would like to delve a little deeper into her “playlist.” Sure, you can easily list hits or alternate versions of some songs that weren’t included. Consider this assembly merely an introduction, then, and the full story will require more investigation.