It is a well known fact, provable by algebra, that the 1960s was the greatest decade for pop music ever. The problem is that when it comes to compilations of that decade’s music the project is often left to the marketing men or the rip-off merchants who churn out carelessly jumbled up product with no interest in sonic integrity or context. However there are a few wonderful re-issue labels out there who do care about this stuff. They know it’s too important to be left to bozos with business degrees so they employ real people who know about music, how it should sound, how it should be sequenced and how it should be packaged. Ace records is one of the finest of such companies and here at last is Volume 3 of their Chartbusters USA series, another lovingly produced collection of the finest music that made the American charts between 1963 and 1969, either as a chartbustin’ number 1 or as a brief visitor to the number 100 spot for a single week. Look at the track listing: there’s classic pop, prime slices of soul, whimsical folk, novelty silliness, garage band greats and soundtrack favourites, all beautifully remastered from original tapes to sound as vibrant and exciting as when they were first recorded. Yes, some of these tracks are familiar but this is a carefully thought out listening experience instead of a thoughtlessly flung together bunch of hits. Rather than jarring clashes you get brilliant juxtapositions that can shimmy from the ridiculous (Ian Whitcomb’s You Turn Me On) to the sublime (The Impressions’ People Get Ready) without causing you to splutter over your Mocha Java. And alongside the big hitters there are the less frequently revived tunes that are the equal of the more well known titles. Ace’s brilliant Golden Age of American Rock and Roll series made it through to Volume 10 (and each volume of that series is equally indispensable), so lets hope that their labourers in the music mines dig out enough nuggets to see Chartbusters USA go the distance too.
Not as good as volumes 1 and 2. On first hearing it I thought that I could detect the sound of the bottom of a barrel being scraped, but after a couple more plays it has grown on me a bit. Please Ace don't bring out volume 4.