With just over 40 songs, The Ultimate Trio Collection is indeed a project that lives up to its title. The project compiles the two original Trio I and Trio II projects from 1987 and 1999 and 20 rare and unreleased tracks and brings them in one tidy, perfect collection. What is amazing is there are two albums worth of songs on the bonus disc of unreleased material and a case could’ve been made for Rhino and Warner Music to release these as two separate additional projects. Fans would’ve likely purchased a chance to hear Dolly, Emmylou and Linda again a couple of more times. Thankfully, though, we get to hear the Trio now and not spread out over time.
Most of these unreleased tracks are taken from sessions from 1986, 1993 and 1994 and I suspect they’d have released a few newly recorded songs if Linda Ronstadt’s health had permitted it. Standouts include the gospel classic “You Don’t Knock,” and alternate takes of “Wildflowers,” “Making Plans” and “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” (the latter with a Dolly Parton lead vocal and different arrangement). Longtime fans of Patty Loveless will probably reconize “Handful Of Dust,” a song which Patty recorded on her When Fallen Angels Fly after it was left in the vault by the Trio.
The unreleased tracks portion of this project is everything fans have been wanting and more and when you combine it with stunning artwork and the two remastered award-winning discs and we have another award-worthy collection here.