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The Sound of Love - The Very Best of Darlene Love

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Record producer Phil Spector formed his own label, Philles Records, in 1961 with the idea of releasing his “little symphonies for the kids.” He assembled the top session musicians in Los Angeles and then searched out the perfect vocalists to put a happy face on his “Wall of Sound,” which included an unusual number of pianos, horns, drums and string arrangements from wunderkind Jack Nitzsche. Darlene Love was an expressive young singer whom Spector used as a solo artist and as a vocalist with the Crystals and Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans. This collection includes three non-Spector tracks with her group the Blossoms: “No Other Love,” produced by Tom Morgan, and “Good Good Lovin’” and “That’s When the Tears Start,” produced by Jimmy Bowen. Even her 1977 reunion single, “Lord, If You’re a Woman” is included here. Of course, the real draw are the hits: “A Fine, Fine Boy,” “Wait Til’ My Bobby Gets Home,” and, of course, the Crystals’ hits, “He’s a Rebel” and “He’s Sure the Boy I Love.”

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Fresh transfer and remaster of Darlene Love’s best

With the Philles catalog now in the licensing hands of Sony Legacy and EMI, the fiftieth anniversary of the label’s 1961 founding is being celebrated with a new round of reissues. First out of the gate are remastered best-of collections for the Ronettes, Crystals, Darlene Love and Phil Spector. This 17-track Darlene Love collection proves that while Ronnie Spector (nee Veronica Bennett) may have been Spector’s greatest heartthrob, Darlene Love was his vocal MVP. As the lead vocalist on key singles by Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, the Blossoms (both under their own name, and as the West Coast version of the Crystals), and solo singles, not to mention her work with the Blossoms as go-to backing vocalists, Love’s voice was as important an element of the Wall of Sound as the Wrecking Crew’s drums, guitars, pianos and basses.

Included here are tunes by the Crystals, Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans (though not their first hit, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” on which Bobby Sheen sang lead), the Blossoms, and solo sides. This collection mostly duplicates the track line-up of ABKCO’s out-of-print 1992 Best of Darlene Love, dropping “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” and a pre-Dixie Cups version of “Chapel of Love,” and adding four titles: the Blossoms’ “No Other Love, “That’s When the Tears Start” and “Good Good Lovin’,” and Love’s “Strange Love.” A couple of her lower charting singles (the pre-Philles “Son-in-Law” with the Blossoms, and the 1992 soundtrack single “All Alone on Christmas”) are absent, but more puzzlingly, neither the earlier or current collection includes Love’s signature holiday pièce de résistance, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

Though all this material has been previously released, several of Love’s solo tracks went unissued at the time of their recording, turning up a decade later on rarities anthologies. Among these are “Run Run Runaway,” “A Long Way to Be Happy,” and the brilliant Poncia and Andreoli song, “Strange Love.” Fleshing out her post-Philles career is a soulful 1965 turn on Van McCoy’s “That’s When the Tears Start” (produced by Reprise staffer Jimmy Bowen) and a 1975 session with Phil Spector on Mann and Weil’s “Lord, If You’re a Woman.” As with the other volumes in this series, this isn’t the vault discovery fans are waiting for, and the lack of stereo (except tracks 16 and 17) will vex long-time collectors, but with ABKCO’s set out of print, this is a welcome return to retail of Love’s classic sides. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

There Is Reason Why Darlene Love Is Being Inducted Into The Hall of Fame

Her sound is rich and dark, whether she is making soft music or really singing out, up high or down low. These things are just technical considerations, though. What really makes Love unique is her ability to convey emotion and meaning through her singing. The longing on “My Heart Beats A Little Faster” is poignant. The despair and anger on “Lord, If You're A Woman”, likewise, comes through loud and clear in a way that's just not very common in Top 40 music, from this or any era.

The Sound Of Love: The Very Best Of Darlene Love is not only her very best, but also a wonderful snapshot of an era in American popular music that many now look back on as a Golden Age. No fan of the music of the 60's should be without this recording. Darlene Love is as fine or belter than anything that has been set on vinyl, and she surely deserves a place next to the other divas of her day.

Donny Harvey


Born: July 26, 1938 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Amazingly, Darlene Love, a superb vocalist, hasn't had much of a track record as a solo singer, at least not in terms of hits. Love was a founding member of the Blossoms in 1957. They did several sessions and were resident singers on the television show Shindig. Love sang lead vocals on "He's a Rebel," which was credited to the Crystals, and "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah," which was issued under the name Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans. She cut six singles for Spector's Phillies label, with "Wait 'Til My Bobby...
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