06 October 2011

Philles Records (Part Two)

Twist Uptown

The Phil Spector Album Collection!
The Alley Cats, Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans, Cher,
The Crystals, Darlene Love, The Righteous Brothers,
The Ronettes featuring Veronica and Ike & Tina Turner
Remixed and Re-Imagined
Part Two
by Donny Jacobs
Here we begin to expand on the Philles box set concept with album masters Sony Music couldn't (or, most likely, didn't want to) license. We also dig into the tape vaults and come up with a wealth of rarities: Three albums' worth, in fact, with nary a quirky instrumental in the bunch!

You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'

Soul City (Bill Medley)
featuring Bill Medley
Over And Over (Bobby Day)
featuring Bobby Hatfield
The Angels Listened In (Sid Faust, Billy Dawn Smith)
Ko Ko Mo (Eunice Levy, Jake Porter, Forest Wilson)
Look At Me (Johnny Cole)
What'd I Say? (Ray Charles)
There's A Woman (Bobby Hatfield, Bill Medley)
Sick And Tired (Dave Bartholomew, Chris Kenner)
Summertime (George & Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward)
featuring Bobby Hatfield
Old Man River (Oscar Hammerstein, Jerome Kern)
featuring Bill Medley
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
(Barry Mann, Phil Spector, Cynthia Weil)*
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'

Just Once In My Life

The Blues (Bill Medley)
Sticks And Stones (Hank Glover, Titus Turner)
See That Girl (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil)**
featuring Bill Medley
You Are My Sunshine (Jimmie Davis, Charles Mitchell)
Guess Who? (Jesse & Jo Anne Belvin)
You'll Never Walk Alone (Oscar Hammerstein, Richard Rodgers)
Big Boy Pete (Don Harris, Dewey Terry)
Oo-Poo-Pah-Doo (Jesse Hill)
The Great Pretender (Buck Ram)
Unchained Melody (Alex North, Hy Zaret)
featuring Bobby Hatfield
Just Once In My Life (Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Phil Spector)**
Just Once In My Life

Back To Back

Late, Late Night (Mike Patterson)
The Mike Patterson Band
For Sentimental Reasons (Pat Best, Deek Watson)**
featuring Bobby Hatfield
Without A Doubt (Bill Medley)
featuring Bill Medley
Hot Tamales (Bobby Hatfield)
featuring Bobby Hatfield
Hallelujah, I Love Her So (Ray Charles)
featuring Bill Medley
Ebb Tide (Robert Maxwell, Carl Sigman)***
featuring Bobby Hatfield
She's Mine, All Mine (Bobby Hatfield)
featuring Bobby Hatfield
Lovin' You (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller)
featuring Bill Medley
White Cliffs Of Dover (Nathaniel Burton, Walter Kent)*
featuring Bobby Hatfield
God Bless The Child (Arthur Herzog, Jr, Billie Holliday)
featuring Bill Medley
Hung On You (Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Phil Spector)**
The Righteous Brothers
with The Blossoms and The Mike Patterson Band
Arranged by Woody Woodrich, Bill Baker
and Johnny Wimber
A Righteous Brothers Production
Produced by Bill Medley

*Arranged by Gene Page
**Arranged by Jack “Specs” Nitzsche
***Arranged by Perry Botkin, Jr
A Phil Spector Production
Produced by Phil Spector
Recorded at Gold Star Studios, Radio Recorders
and United Western Recordings, Hollywood
1964 - 1965

By the time he signed The Righteous Brothers to Philles Records in 1964, Phil Spector had nearly lost all interest in albums. Presenting The Fabulous Ronettes would be his last hurrah on long-playing vinyl until he started working with John Lennon, Yoko Ono and George Harrison in the ‘70’s. Even though three Righteous Brothers albums were issued on Philles, he didn’t produce any of them! Bill Medley, bass singer of the duo, produced the album tracks. Phil worked on the singles. At least, that’s what was supposed to happen. Spector produced one album cut, and Medley ended up producing one Philles 45. Its runaway success hastened the end of The Brothers’ time as Philles Records artists. That single was, believe it or not, “Unchained Melody”.

“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’” launched The Righteous Brothers as both a Philles act and a million-selling duo. Of course, that single (stunning in both its mono and stereo mixes) was totally a Phil Spector production. However, after it became an international chart-topper, Phil couldn't have cared less about cutting an LP with Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield. Engineer Larry Levine had to cajole a budget out of him so that Medley could go in and produce an album session. He wasn’t an odd choice, because under the supervision of song publisher Ray Maxwell, he’d produced nearly all the pre-Philles Righteous Brothers records. Bill Medley was a very quick study: He closely observed Phil’s methods, and became a highly skilled record producer as a result. Ironically, the sides he cut for Philles are considered inferior to those he’d done for Moonglow Records in 1963-4.

His productions for the You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ album are rather good, holding forth with a somewhat jazzy, somewhat laid-back atmosphere. On the next LP, Just Once In My Life, he’s just pimping Spector’s style with varying degrees of success. The Spector-produced sides (the title track and “See That Girl”, a ballad sung by Medley alone) sound far superior to the other cuts. Well, all but two of them: Played for laughs, Bill and Bobby's cover of “Ooh-Poo-Pah-Doo” is aurally exciting, and while the recording isn’t well-known, it’s one of the best Rock novelties of the ‘60s. “Unchained Melody”, on the other hand, is anything but a novelty. If you've listened to it closely, you know the backing track isn’t such a great Spector imitation, either; but for millions of record buyers, it was close enough.

Philles Records issued “Hung On You” as a follow-up to “Just Once In My Life” in the summer of 1965. Deejays weren’t too impressed with this Goffin/King song, and it stalled at #47 on Billboard’s Hot 100. They did go for the cover of a Roy Hamilton hit on the flipside, though, and in a big way. The stately arrangement, combined with Bobby Hatfield’s virtuoso performance, really knocked them out. The label listed no production credits, so everybody assumed Phil Spector had done the honors. It was a big ballad, and Spector specialized in big ballads, so . . . the single was flipped over, it got a ton of airplay, landed in the Top Ten, and somewhere along the way, Spector got credit for producing another Wall of Sound smash. Phil did and said nothing to disabuse anybody of that notion. Au contraire, he took credit for “Unchained Melody” from then on.

Ask Bill Medley, and he won't hesitate to tell you he produced “Unchained Melody” for the Philles label. Session notes (the correct ones) reveal it was cut at Radio Recorders, not at Gold Star or United Western; those were the studios Spector favored. Mike Patterson, The Righteous Brothers’ bandleader, conducted the session. Whether or not Medley tried to publicize these facts in 1965 is something we don’t know. What we do know is that his relationship with Spector became strained. After “Unchained” sold so well, Bobby Hatfield began singing solo on Spector productions. Then, all of a sudden, Bobby also stopped recording with Phil. Lawsuits flew back and forth! When the dust cleared, The Righteous Brothers had relocated to Verve Records with Medley firmly planted in the producer’s chair. He got sweet revenge on Phil when “Soul And Inspiration”, a song Phil had rejected, shot to #1 in early 1966. It was the near-perfect Wall of Sound copy that “Unchained Melody” aspired to be.

Medley had left session tapes at Philles in various stages of completion. Phil cobbled them together with “Hung On You” and the Hatfield-only singles he’d released (including “Ebb Tide”, a second Roy Hamilton cover that became another major hit) and slapped them on a compilation LP he titled Back-To-Back. It doesn’t hold up well as an album, but it features some great tracks: Bill Medley impersonates Ray Charles masterfully on “God Bless The Child” and “Hallelujah, I Love Her So”, and Bobby Hatfield is at his funkiest singing “She’s Mine, All Mine” and “Hot Tamales”(which had been a Moonglow Records single in 1963; Phil left it in mono, but we've programmed the rare stereo mix). By 1967, Verve Records had purchased the rights to all the Philles material, and the company issued what it considered the best of it as The Righteous Brothers’ Greatest Hits. None of Bill Medley’s Verve productions made the track line-up, but several of his weaker efforts from Just Once In My Life were programmed. So was “Unchained Melody” which, of course, is erroneously credited to Phil Spector.  Seemingly as a consolation prize, Medley is listed as the producer of “See That Girl”!  Any true Wall of Sound connoisseur can tell whose work that record is. These discrepancies have been repeated on every RB compilation that’s been released since. Keep in mind that The Righteous Brothers never owned their Philles master tapes, and had no say as to how they would be marketed . . .

In her 1998 book, My Name Is Love, Darlene Love stated matter-of-factly that “after ‘Lovin’ Feelin’, Bill had as much to do with the production as Phil did.” The lady was there, so she should know! Maybe someday, Phil Spector cultists (especially those who write and research CD liner notes) will be ready to acknowledge just how much . . . but we wouldn't advise holding your breath!

River-Deep, Mountain-High

You’re So Fine!
(Lance Finney, Willie Schofield, Bob West)
A Love Like Yours (Lamont Dozier, Brian & Eddie Holland)*
I Idolize You (Ike Turner)
Such A Fool For You! (Ike Turner)
Every Day I Have To Cry (Arthur Alexander, Jr)**
Make 'Em Wait (Ike Turner, Steve Venet, Toni Wine)
River-Deep, Mountain-High
(Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)***
Save The Last Dance For Me (Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman)*
A Fool In Love (Ike Turner)
Things Ain't What They Used To Be (Kent Harris)
Hold On, Baby! (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)***
It's Gonna Work Out Fine (Rose Marie McCoy, Sylvia McKinney)
I'll Never Need More Than This
(Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)***
River-Deep, Mountain-High
Ike and Tina Turner
with The Ikettes

Arranged and Produced by
Ike Turner

*Arranged by Perry Botkin, Jr
**Arranged by Gene Page
***Arranged by Jack “Specs” Nitzsche
A Phil Spector Production
Produced by Phil Spector
Recorded at Gold Star Studios, Hollywood

Philles Records died in 1967. The last single issued on the label, “I’ll Never Need More Than This”, didn’t even crack the Hot 100! Scheduled as the follow-up, “A Love Like Yours” never got past the deejay pressing stage. Both were Tina Turner singles, and the first one Phil cut with Tina, “River-Deep, Mountain-High”, drove the first nail into his record label's coffin. Spector spent an insane amount of money producing this song collaboration with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, only to see American Pop radio turn a universal thumbs down the track. An ambitious fusion of Blues sensibility and symphony orchestra bombast, deejays just didn’t know what to make of it. In the original single mix, Tina Turner sounded as if she were screaming for her life from the bottom of a very deep chasm. It took the combined efforts of The Supremes and The Four Tops to finally make the song a Pop hit four years later. Phil was so demoralized at this rejection of what he regarded as his masterpiece, he decided to close up shop after completing the River-Deep album.

Even though Spector worked with Tina Turner alone, the records were credited to Ike and Tina. Not surprisingly, Ike Turner produced most of the album; once again, Phil preferred to concentrate on singles (which, by this time, he wasn’t producing anymore)! It wasn’t released in the United States until 1969, after Phil had cut a distribution deal with A & M Records. However, you could buy the LP in 1966 if you lived or traveled overseas. With the same cover photography by actor Dennis Hopper that would later grace the American issue, River-Deep, Mountain-High first appeared on London Records. The single may have floundered stateside, but British radio heartily embraced the single. It was a major BBC hit, so it made sense that Phil would only release the album in European territories. At that time, stereo was still a novelty in Europe, but a few stereo copies were pressed up and sold. Not only is the London LP available in stereophonic sound, it contains a track that doesn’t appear on the 1969 A & M version: A cover of The Falcon’s 1959 doo-wop oldie “You’re So Fine.” A strong argument can be made, though, that Spector wanted the album mixed as close to monaural as it could possibly be.

Our suspicion is that Larry Levine engineered both the Turner and Spector sessions, because all the London album cuts have similarly dense mixes. However, you can easily tell the difference in Ike Turner's work. He emphasizes his band's hip-shaking rhythm section and Tina’s dynamic call-and-response interaction with The Ikettes. Phil has settled into his heavily orchestrated phase, with emphasis on strings, brass and big vocal choruses enveloping (smothering?) the vocalist. The backing tracks for “A Love Like Yours”, “Every Day I Have To Cry”, “Hold On, Baby!” and “Save The Last Dance For Me” are every bit as cavernous as those on “River-Deep.” When you nearly succeed in burying a volcanic voice like Tina Turner possesses, that says something (and not necessarily something good). The small studio sound of Ike Turner’s productions make for quite a contrast. Listening to this British LP calls to mind the sound of a thunderstorm moving in and out of the area: The noise level either shakes the house or fills the air with a distant rumble. Needless to say, it’s a unique aural experience!

Yet, we have to admit that the more panoramic mixes heard on the later American version lets the songs breathe better. When you add “I’ll Never Need More Than This” as a bonus track, as we’ve done for our imaginary Philles release, the improvement in sound quality is quite pronounced. In any decent mix, “Save The Last Dance For Me” and especially “Hold On, Baby!” impress the listener as hit singles that got away. As for the non-hit single “River-Deep, Mountain-High”, Phil would never be satisfied with the mix. He’s commissioned a new remix nearly every time it’s been reissued. Most recently, he’s allowed it to be heard in stereo again. A sign of positive developments to come, perhaps?

Phil and Ronnie Spector

(Perry Botkin, Jr, Gil Garfield, Harry Nilsson, Phil Spector)*
Born To Be Together (Barry Mann, Phil Spector, Cynthia Weil)*
Soldier Baby Of Mine (Pete Anders, Vini Poncia, Phil Spector)*
Why Don't They Let Us Fall In Love?
(Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)*
Everything Under The Sun (Bob Crewe, Gary Knight)**
I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine
(Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)**
You Came! You Saw! You Conquered!
(Irwin Levine, Phil Spector, Toni Wine)**
Keep On Dancing, Little Girl
(Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)*
Here I Sit (Harry Nilsson, Phil Spector)*
Is This What I Get For Loving You, Baby?
(Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Phil Spector)*
Baby, Let’s Be Lovers (Irwin Levine, Toni Wine, Phil Spector)***
I Can Hear Music (Barry, Greenwich, Spector)
I Can Hear Music
The Ronettes featuring Veronica
Arranged by Artie Butler
Produced by Jeff Barry
*Arranged by Jack "Specs" Nitzsche
**Arranged by Perry Botkin, Jr
***Arranged by Dee Barton and Perry Botkin, Jr
A Phil Spector Production
Produced by Phil Spector

Recorded at Mirasound Studios, New York City
and A & M Studios, Gold Star Studios,
and United Western Recordings, Hollywood
1965 - 1969

Between 1964 and 1966, the year when The Ronettes broke up, Phil Spector had Veronica Bennett in the recording studio constantly. “Phil made sure that I stayed in the studio,” she told interviewer Kingsley Abbott decades later. “He worked me so hard that sometimes, we wouldn’t get out of the studio until the sun was coming up!” She was his muse, his greatest star, and he lavished time and attention on her to the detriment of his other acts. The Crystals, Bobby Sheen and The Righteous Brothers abandoned Philles and signed with other labels. As for Darlene Love, she became strictly a background singer; Spector wouldn’t use her on lead again until the mid-1970s. Yet after the Fabulous Ronettes album was released, Ronnie featured on only three more Philles singles, one of them a Jeff Barry production. “He kept on telling me that we were making new hits,” Ronnie recalled, “but then he didn’t release things.”

In 1969, the year after Phil and Ronnie married, another 45 slipped out on A & M Records. (By then, the group only existed in name only.) None of these sides were hits, so the much-anticipated second album failed to appear. Dozens of masters were reportedly cut, but much to the chagrin of Ronettes fans, only a relative handful have sneaked out over the years. Sixty-nine was also the year The Beach Boys scored high on the charts with a cover of The Ronettes’ “I Can Hear Music.” That was the aforementioned non-hit (#100 Pop) produced by Jeff Barry. If Spector had been of a mind to do it, he might have marketed a new Ronettes album off that song. After all, The Beach Boys never issued an I Can Hear Music album.

Ronnie’s original waxing of the song might have closed an exceptional A & M Records LP. It would’ve boasted grandiose balladry like “Paradise” (later covered brilliantly by Bette Midler) and “I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine” (later subjected to a dismal Stan Vincent-produced remake). The rockin’ sides would’ve included Mrs. Spector’s latest waxing “You Came! You Saw! You Conquered!” along with “Soldier Baby Of Mine”, “Here I Sit”, “Everything Under The Sun” (later cut with Tina Turner for possible release on Philles, but not by Phil: Its composer, Bob Crewe, would do the honors), “Keep On Dancing, Little Girl” and “Why Don’t They Let Us Fall In Love?”, a slow twist single that Phil test-marketed prior to the release of “Be My Baby”. The sultry “Baby, Let’s Be Lovers”, cut at the same sessions as “You Came . . .” is arguably the best of several Toni Wine compositions Ronnie waxed during the A & M period; leaving it off the LP would’ve been a crime! And after hearing the exuberant, churning drama of the failed Philles singles “Born To Be Together” and “Is This What I Get For Loving You, Baby?” in widescreen stereo mixes, everybody would’ve asked why they hadn't gone Top Ten.

Unfortunately, stereo mixes of these tracks aren’t currently available, unless you’re talking about aurally inferior bootlegs (and we're not talking about them) . . . but we can dream, can’t we? Look at the profusion of stellar composer credits: Harry Nilsson, Pete Anders, Vini Poncia, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Irwin Levine, Toni Wine and, naturally, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. The calibre of selections on I Can Hear Music would’ve been so extraordinarily high, it might have made Fabulous Ronettes sound like a rough demo!

Phil and Darlene Love

Johnny, Baby, Please Come Home
(Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)
Strange Kind Of Love (Pete Anders, Vini Poncia, Phil Spector)
Stumble And Fall (Pete Anders, Vini Poncia, Phil Spector)
Wait 'Til My Bobby Gets Home (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)
A Fine, Fine Boy (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)
Take It From Me (Phil Spector)**
Lord, If You’re A Woman (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil)*
Chapel Of Love (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)
He's A Quiet Guy (Pete Anders, Vini Poncia, Phil Spector)
(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry
(Ellie Greenwich, Tony Powers, Phil Spector)
Run, Run, Run Away (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)
A Long Way To Be Happy (Gerry Goffin, Carole King)
Playing For Keeps (Phil Spector)**
I Loved Him Like I Loved My Very Life
(Irwin Levine, Phil Spector, Toni Wine)***
Lord, If You’re A Woman
Darlene Love
with The Blossoms
*Arranged by Nino Tempo
**Arranged by Phil Spector
***Arranged by Perry Botkin, Jr

Arranged by Jack "Specs" Nitzsche
A Phil Spector Production
Produced by Phil Spector
Recorded at Gold Star Studios and A & M Studios, Hollywood
1962 - 1977

If you don’t count the records she sang on that were issued as Crystals and Bob B. Soxx and The Blue Jeans singles, Darlene Love only made the Top Forty once under her own name. 1963’s “Wait ‘Til My Bobby Gets Home” was her only bonafide hit. Yet if you do count those other singles, and also take into account her dominance of several albums, her extensive background vocal work for Spector, and the fact that Phil let her do vocal arrangements for his Christmas record, you’ll understand why she’s considered the Queen of Philles Records. The Ronettes may have been more favored, and The Crystals more successful, but the lovely and talented Miss Love (or Miss Wright, if you want to be fussy) had the sound everybody wanted on their Pop records. She logged studio sessions with everybody from Sam Cooke to Dusty Springfield to Elvis Presley.

Since her Philles heyday, Darlene has released a handful of albums, but in my opinion, none of them do her talent justice. Her devoted fans longed for an album of Spector productions, and in 1981, they finally got one, of sorts. Darlene Love Masters was a hastily thrown-together compilation that was only available as part of a nine-album British box set called Wall Of Sound. Predictably, it became quite the collector’s item, but in terms of track inclusions, sequencing, sound quality and sleeve artwork, it still wasn’t the kind of showcase she deserved. Let’s re-imagine it as a European-only Philles album called Lord, If You’re A Woman, issued on the heels of a rare 1977 single of the same title.

Naturally, we’d want to include those delectable Philles A-sides: “Today I Met The Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” “A Fine, Fine Boy”, the withdrawn-from-sale “Stumble And Fall” and the aforementioned torch-carrying rocker. We’d also want choice flipsides like “He’s A Quiet Guy” (Darlene’s personal favorite of her Philles recordings), the bluesy “Take It From Me” and “Playing For Keeps”. For the album-only tracks, we’d favor reverb-drenched rarities like “A Long Way To Be Happy” (wouldja believe a version cut by lounge singer Carolyn Day is in waltz time??!!), “Strange Kind Of Love” (a superb tango rocker) and Darlene’s bump-and-grind version of “Chapel Of Love” (hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve heard it). “Run, Run, Run Away” would give fans an idea of how she’d have sounded singing lead on The Crystals’s “Da Do Ron Ron”; the alternate version of "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" features a pre-fame Cher, very audible in the background; and we’d finish on an unexpected note with the Country-flavored “I Loved Him Like I Loved My Very Life”. Classic Soul aficionados will recognize it as a number from the Carla Thomas catalogue. This Toni Wine-penned waxing obviously dates from an aborted A & M Records session; it hints at what stylistic direction Darlene might've taken had Phil’s interest in her voice remained constant.


Seven Million People (Howard Greenfield, Helen Miller)
George McCannon III
Arranged by Johnny Abbott
A Taylor-Gorgoni Production
Produced by Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni
When I Get Scared (Pete Anders, Doc Pomus, Vini Poncia)
The Lovelites
An Anders-Poncia Production
Produced by Pete Anders and Vini Poncia
You’re My Baby! (Pete Anders, Vini Poncia, Phil Spector)
Gene Toone & The Blazers
Arranged by Arnold Goland
A Phil Spector Production
Produced by Phil Spector
Lover’s Wonderland (Perry Botkin, Jr, Johnny Cole, Gil Garfield)
The Sugar Plums
Arranged by Perry Botkin, Jr
A Botkin-Garfield Production
Produced by Gil Garfield and Perry Botkin, Jr
Kiss Me Now! (Marty Cooper, Bobby Susser)
Florence DeVore
Arranged by Horace Ott
A Cooper-Susser-Silberstein Production
Produced by Marty Cooper and Bobby Susser
You Can’t Grow Peaches On A Cherry Tree
(Estelle Levitt, Camille Monte)
George McCannon III
Arranged by Johnny Abbott
A Taylor-Gorgoni Production
Produced by Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni
Down, Down (Ike Turner)
The Ikettes
Arranged and Produced by
Ike Turner
Act Naturally (Voni Morrison, Johnny Russell)
Betty Willis
Arranged and Produced by
Leon Russell
Home Of The Brave (Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil)
Bonnie & The TreasuresArranged by Nick De Caro
Produced by Jerry Riopell
Whatcha Gonna Do? (Ike Turner)
The Ikettes
Arranged and Produced by
Ike Turner
Oh, Baby!! (Doc Pomus, Phil Spector)
Harvey & Doc with The Dwellers
A Phil Spector Production
Produced by Phil Spector
Ringo, I Love You (Pete Anders, Vini Poncia, Phil Spector)
Bonnie Jo Mason
A Phil Spector Production
Produced by Phil Spector
We’re Not Old Enough
(Marty Cooper, Terry Sue Pinter, Bobby Susser)
Florence DeVore
Arranged by Horace Ott
A Cooper-Susser-Silberstein Production
Produced by Marty Cooper and Bobby Susser
Hold Me Tight (John Lennon, Paul McCartney)
The Treasures featuring Pete Anders
Arranged by Jack “Specs” Nitzsche
A Phil Spector Production
Produced by Phil Spector
Yesterday (John Lennon, Paul McCartney)
Al De Lory
An Atlas Artists Production
Arranged by Al De Lory
Produced by Fred Darian
under the supervision of Harry Maselow
The Phi-Dan Story
Phil Spector Artists
Recorded 1964-1965

Now, this is the kind of bonus compilation CD that would leave Spector fans drooling! The various releases on Phi-Dan, Annette and Shirley Records (all subsidiary labels to Philles) have never been properly compiled. Most were not supervised by Spector, but every one of them reflects his production ethic to a greater or lesser degree. The producers were some of his most valuable session musicians, along with people he didn’t employ like Marty Cooper, Al Gorgoni and Chip Taylor who nevertheless absorbed his stylistic influence.

“Oh, Baby!” is jokey throwaway track featuring novelty vocals by Phil and songwriter Jerome “Doc” Pomus, but most of the other singles are outstanding: The Lovelites track sounds like Spector producing Belinda Carlisle had she been of recording age in 1964; churning like a piston engine, “You’re My Baby” is a great, groovin' lost Doo-Wop treasure; “Home Of The Brave”, the work of Spector protegé Jerry Riopell, all but defines the Wall of Sound-a-Like genre; and The Ikettes’ “Whatcha Gonna Do?” is a rafters-rocking, street classy boogaloo disc featuring the Holloway sisters (Brenda and Patrice) on backing vocals.

That’s not all: “Ringo, I Love You” is not only Cher’s first single (“Bonnie Jo Mason” was a pseudonym), it’s also the most sought-after Beatles tribute record on the collector’s market. Despite the similarity to “She Loves You”, it ain't a bad song, either. Florence DeVore’s “We’re Not Old Enough” is so incredibly fabulous, it just may be the quintessential Latin-flavored Girl Group single; Pete Anders of The Treasures (a group soon to be renamed The Tradewinds) got his big moment in the sun crooning “Hold Me Tight” over a thunderous Jack Nitzsche arrangement; and Al De Lory’s glorious piano rendition of “Yesterday” is the kind of shimmering instrumental Phil should’ve put on his flipsides.

Now, wasn't that special? Don't you wish you owned a Phil Spector box set this comprehensive? This fanciful exercise of ours is certainly not meant to discourage anyone from buying The Philles Album Collection. If you want it and can afford it in these tough economic times, by all means buy a copy! That said, if you think Sony Music/Legacy aren’t providing exactly what you want in its new Phil Spector reissues, don’t hesitate to let them know.  If earlier generations of Spector fans were able to enjoy high-fidelity mastering, previously-unreleased sides and stereophonic sound, there’s no good reason why you shouldn’t, too!

Phil and The Ronettes II

Special thanks to
Peter Richmond and Michael V. Skeen