Real Gone's 2012 double-disc compilation The Complete Epic Recordings rounds up the entirety of Rick Nelson's recordings for Epic. Nelson was at Epic between 1977 and 1978, with only one album -- 1977’s Intakes -- appearing at the time. Post-Intakes sessions first surfaced on the posthumous, somewhat overdubbed 1986 LP The Memphis Sessions, with further sides appearing on the 1993 collection Stay Young. The first time all the Epic sides were released was on Bear Family's exhaustive 2010 The Last Time Around, a seven-disc box so weighty it left an opening for a set like The Complete Epic Recordings, a set that focuses just on those two years at Epic. During this time, Nelson straddled two sounds -- the sunkissed West Coast country-rock he pioneered in the early ‘70s, and the super-smooth soft rock of the late ‘70s, occasionally dipping his toe into a bit of rockabilly revival. Epic may not have been entirely wrong to consider these sessions, including the scrapped Al Kooper-produced Back to Vienna LP, difficult to market: they sound of their time but they don’t quite belong to their time, their sensibility a little bit too tied to country and rockabilly to make the recordings commercial, even if the layers of gloss render them radio-ready. Consequently, this music sounds better today than it may have at the time. Sure, it’s very much a product of its time, with every bit of visible surface shining from studio slickness, but this period polish is appealing and, underneath it, Rick Nelson's remarkable interpretative gifts remain intact. Nelson never pushed a song too hard, not even when he rocked it hard as he did on insistent versions of John Fogerty's “Almost Saturday Night” and Buddy Holly's “Rave On,” yet he was never lazy; his ease was his charm and he never lost sight of this gift, something that’s evident on this collection of overlooked but very enjoyable latter-day recordings.