Category Archives: Reviews

Darlene Love – The Best of (CD review)

You may not know her name, but you certainly know her voice.

Darlene Love – the Best of – CD review – While it would be impossible to compile all of Darlene Love’s finest accomplishments on one collection, The Best of Darlene Love does a fairly good job of bringing together the highlights of her tenure with Phil Spector, her most fruitful commercially.  The CD opens with “He’s a Rebel,” credited to the Crystals, but is in fact Darlene on lead vocals.

The song rocketed to #1 in the fall of 1962 and helped solidify Phil Spector’s status as a “rock genius.”  Perhaps because of this notoriety, Spector became increasingly erratic in his dealings with his artists.  This explains the schizophrenic credits on this CD: Spector would promise Darlene that the next single would be in her name, only to release it as by the Crystals.  Next, she’d be credited as Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, for which they cut the odd Disney classic “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.”  Still other tracks were inexplicably left unreleased, as in Darlene’s original version of “Chapel of Love,” later a monster hit for the Dixie Cups. “A Fine Fine Boy” and “(Today I Met) the Boy I’m Gonna Marry” are both fine examples of her strong clear voice: it’s as if she’s back in the choir singing gospel.  The set closes with an added tidbit: “Lord If You’re a Woman,”  a failed attempt at a comeback for Spector and Love from 1977.

Tommy James – 40 years – Complete Singles Collection (CD review)

Disc one packs such a wallop, did one guy do all these songs?

Tommy James – 40 Years – The Complete Singles Collection (Collectors Choice) – CD review – This two-disc set marks the first time that Tommy James’ entire career has been summarized in one collection.  “40 Years: The Complete Singles Collection” opens with his very first hit, “Hanky Panky” from 1966 and ends with a string of Adult Contemporary hits from 40 years later.

Disc one focuses on Tommy’s hit-making years and the string of shining moments is an impressive one: “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Mony Mony,” “Crimson & Clover,”  “Mirage,”  “Sweet Cherry Wine,”  and “Crystal Blue Persuasion” are all timeless classics.  One thing that sets this anthology a part from other collections is that, for the first time, the original, mono single versions were used.  These were the mixes that were played on AM radio at the time and the ones that the kids of the Sixties bought up on record.  Even though disc two chronicles Tommy’s decent into cult artist, the quality of the material remains surprisingly strong.  — Tony Peters

Hear the Icon Fetch interview with Tommy James