In the often lamentable field of multi-artist tribute albums, no one put together better or more interesting ones than the late Hal Willner. While Willner had a real gift for matching artists to material, his real talent was the juxtaposition of diverse talents under one tent (1985's Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill is the only album where you'll find Sting, John Zorn, and Johnny Adams in the same place), and finding imaginative ways to link the material (using the recitations of Ken Nordine to bookend 1989's Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films). More than just a bunch of folks covering songs from the same artist or genres, Willner's projects were ALBUMS, using their diverse ingredients to create something more than the sum of the parts. Willner died on April 6, 2020, and at the time of his death he was working on an album honoring Marc Bolan, the flamboyant mind behind T. Rex.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming
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