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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon 9 November 2011
At last.
This is the first affordable compilation of the Spector-era Ronettes for decades, due (I believe) to the stubborn intransigence of said mad genius.
The sound of Ronnie Spector (nee Bennett), her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra, is still the ultimate sound of teenege sexual stirrings, the sound too of post-war cosmopolitan New York, of Spanish Harlem, pre-hippy America discovering its postwar self in all its multitudinous shades, shapes and sizes. Would you believe The Ronettes had only one Top Ten hit in the US? Incredible, huh? This is one group (we didn`t have bands then, they were all groups) whose legacy - whose voluptuous,
brazenly opulent, seemingly inevitable iconic uniqueness - is untouchable. If they had only recorded Be My Baby or Baby I Love You, their status would be assured.
Luckily, they recorded more than that, though not so much more.
Here are 18 tracks from the Phil Spector days. He co-wrote most of these songs, and notoriously not only married Ronnie, the lucky swine, but kept her prisoner in his mansion, and made her life an unpredictable purgatory for years before she finally managed to fly the coop. (Read her autobiography, "Be My Baby", it`s superb.)
Compilers are a strange breed. If they`d asked me - and I do wish they would - I`d have opened this collection with the famous ominous drum thwacks of Be My Baby (remember Harvey Keitel waking up to them near the beginning of Mean Streets?) then given us a less well-known number, saving Baby, I Love You for a bit later. Why would anyone want to hear their two most lauded, and similar, songs next to each other? Have some imagination for God`s sake!
Be My Baby has become The Ronettes` calling card, their most iconic song, the one that sums up their allure. It`s sexily sweet, it came first, and it`s perfect.
But spare a moment for the thunderous breadth of Baby, I Love You. This is a track that capitalises on the earlier hit, giving us an even more asssured vocal from Ronnie, as well as those unforgettable "Woh-ho - a-woh-ho ho-ho" lead-ins. It`s a magnificent piece of early 60s symphonic pop that does something to me that I can barely put into words. (In fact, I can`t imagine anyone with a pulse not loving The Ronettes, but such souls do exist, in some nether region no doubt.)
Other inimitable pearls include (The Best Part Of) Breaking Up and Walking In The Rain. But there is not one single song here that isn`t worth hearing, including the original of You Baby (later covered by the Mamas and Papas; not the contemporaneous Turtles song of the same name) and a song the Beach Boys later made their own, I Can Hear Music. I`d forgotten The Ronettes had already sung it.
There is a fulsome, funny, slightly pretentious, suitably adulatory sleevenote by the Patti Smith Group`s Lenny Kaye, track listings, and a few fairly good pics of the girls.
The unrepeatably sumptuous Ronettes were THE girl group. This long-awaited compilation pretty much does them proud. If it introduces Ronettes virgins to their
music - well, imagine if you were hearing Be My Baby for the first time...!
I could go on, but I need to play Baby, I Love You just one more time before I call it a day.
Play as loud as you can get away with.
Pop perfection.
Glorious.
Essential.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
What can I possibly say about the music contained on this disc that hasn't been said before. There are 18 beautifully crafted mini opera's on this disc. Each time I hear any of these tracks I realise how astounding they are. They are the pinnacle of musical art. They are so fantastically produced, written and sung. My favourite track has to be 'I wish i never saw the sunshine' the lyrics are so sad and heartbreaking they'll make you cry. The 12 page booklet is nicely designed with some liner notes, pics and track credits. I stress the fact that if you only know 'Be my baby' then you need to buy this straight away from the USA. I have the others in this particular re-issue series 'The Crystals' and 'Darlene Love' all are newly remastered according to the liner notes. I can't wait for the box set due out in June of various spector produced albums.
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"Be My Baby: The Very Best of the Ronettes," pretty well delivers what it promises, the best of the early work of Ronnie Spector, nee Bennett, and her backing group, the Ronettes. And, due to the intransigence of her mad genius former boss and husband, Phil Spector, it was just released last year.

Ronnie Spector's big throbbing, sensual voice, her instantly-recognizable tremelo and her "oo oo oo's," (borrowed from Frankie Lyman of "The Teenagers,") made her one of the greatest female rock and roll stars of her day, rock's original bad girl, in basically the early 1960's, as lead singer of "The Ronettes. " She and the relatives of hers who constituted The Ronettes were instantly recognizable in person too: They wore the highest hair, the shortest, tightest skirts, the highest heels; and nobody stepped higher. She worked for producer Phil Spector, as is well-known, in his legendary studio, Gold Star, where he invented the wall of sound: basically backing up his powerful rock singers with full orchestral sound. He called his productions `mini symphonies for teenagers.'

Ronnie began life, a young, half-Puerto Rican, half Native American Indian girl, had that remarkable voice, was "discovered" as a dancing teenager, and, of course, married Spector, the boss. She always said that marriage was her toughest gig, and recent history seems to bear her out on that. Her voice, with its tremolo, boomed out of jukeboxes world wide, with "Be My Baby," "Baby I Love You," and "Walking In The Rain,"among other hits. She and the cousins also toured with the Rolling Stones, the only girl group ever to do so, and played a major part in Spector's evergreen Christmas album of 1963. She's just inescapably part of everybody's sound track of that time: A lot of people danced to her voice, and romanced to it, too. I've been lucky enough to see her in person several times. Think I will not soon forget watching her one sunny lunch time, free concert at the World Trade Center, when it was there. The sheer joy of the crowd, a thousand voices singing with her: "For every kiss you give me, I'll give you three." And a man who appeared to be African by his dress dancing ecstatically to her music on one of the giant urns that dotted the Trade Center Plaza. Well, I think we all felt that way: Prominent Long Island born rocker Billy Joel tells us that as teenagers, he and his friends always knew they were going to get lucky with the girls when "Be My Baby" boomed out of the jukebox.

Of course, when Ronnie split with Spector, personally and professionally, and took up a solo career, it was years before her former producer allowed her to use this repertory. And, obviously, years before he allowed its rerelease on record. (I've read and reviewed, in fact own, her memoir Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness, or My Life as a Fabulous Ronette, and Darlene Love's as well, My Name Is Love: The Darlene Love Story: neither one of them easy to find.) But finally, we have her inimitable early But finally, we have her inimitable early hits here: "Be My Baby," "Baby I Love You," "The Best Part of Breaking Up," "Do I Love You?" "Walking in the Rain," and "I Can Hear Music." As is true of many of my greatest favorites, I actually own the original vinyl of this record, but, of course, it's too precious to play. I am in seventh heaven with this CD release.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2011
Whatever else anyone may say about this being a missed opportunity to create an exhaustive box set (which it is), no one can fault the sonics of this marvellous release. Frankly, I wasn't really expecting much but the second I put this on I was gobsmacked by its lushness and pounding bass. It is one million times better than the original 45s of which I have two (screechy, shouty sound). It is very musical, listenable and captures the emotional intensity of the girls perfectly. Full marks for the remaster job.

On the down side, I think there has been some real laziness on the part of the compilers regarding song selection. If you look at recent singles compilations for the likes of Paul Revere and The Raiders and James Brown, say, the presentation has been all the A-sides and B-sides presented chronologically which gives us a chance to build up a fuller picture of the artist and is fully comprehensive. Here, we only get the most famous numbers. A missed opportunity, for sure. My advice is to buy this item if you're only in it for the music and sound. On that level it succeeds so well that my above criticisms seem pretty small-minded once the disc starts spinning

In terms of packaging, again this set is let down, this time by the suffocatingly pretentious nonsense spouted by Lenny Kaye. Yeah, yeah, I know he was the cat responsible for Nuggets but whatever literary skills he may have had once upon a time seem to have deserted him. I'm not interested in his cheesy adolescent reminiscences nor his name-dropping boast of how he cut a rug with Ronnie at the hall of fame. What does that have to do with the music? Take a look at the liner notes supplied with the James Brown singles series from Hip-o-Select to see how it should be done. The notes on those editions are intelligently written with intricate recording details that tell you how the music was made and how it evolved. It has been written with a focus on the music itself and not the writer's ego. What Legacy should have done is replaced Kaye's junk with more photos of the gals like the one that appears on p.5.

So ultimately what you're getting is powerful, emotive music, dreamy tube-like sonics and a handful of cool pics. The product could have been much better if a bit more thought had been put into it but bearing in mind how awful so much product is these days (loudness, squashed dynamics etc), I think we all oughta be grateful that in these dying moments of the music industry, we can enjoy the power of the Ronettes sound for the next few eternities. This is a remaster for the ages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2015
The sound quality of this cd is poor especially in the last track but it's good to have these great songs, so given the price paid and age of original recording I'd say it's good value for money.
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on 28 January 2013
I have always loved the Ronettes and was not disapointed by this compliation.Phil Spector's production is superb and the quality of the most of the songs is outstanding.All their hits and more. You get the impression they would have been even bigger thatn they were if the jealous Phil had not kept Ronnie locked away from us for all those years.
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on 23 January 2013
The Ronettes were probably the best of all the excellent 60's American Girl Groups and Oh so sexy. This is a great value cd containing all their hits and more besides. I have to admit that it was only Phil Spector's Wall of Sound that took them over and above The Shirelles, The Chiffons, The Shangri-las etc.
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on 28 June 2013
I herd a track from this album recently and thought I would buy the album and I am very pleased I did, I don't believe there is a bad track on it and the vocals are great and what can one say about the wall of sound (buy and listen to this I don't think you will be disappointed) young or old.
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Awesome harmonies helped along by the mad genius that is Mr.Spector. Strange that the girls didn't have more hits than the 2 obvious ones on here. So much to enjoy and my 6 year old daughter is now a fan too !
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on 23 February 2015
Affordable, covering their best tracks, with, and this is what matters to Phil (probably) and his followers, (definitely) excellent sound, an essential part of the 60s music legacy.
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