Only barbra could produce a miniature version of her biggest and (sometimes) best work, miss the boat on several choices, and still have the package come off so well. The first two discs are mostly flawless. But the manic "Lover, come back to me" has no place here, nor does the title track from "lazy afternoon" when "my father's song" or "a child is born" would have been preferable. But the real problem is disc 3, which is presumably a few "also rans". However, only "after the rain" and "by the way" are worthy. The others could have been some hidden classics like "just in time" "love comes from unexpected places", "on rainy afternoons", "if you could read my mind", "pieces of dreams", or "free again", or "my funny valentine". But really, babs, "on my way to you"? "Letting go"? Don't think so, not on an 'essential' package. Still, discs 1 & 2 are superb and the album jacket reproductions are always welcome.