on 8 June 2010
This is a curiosity. Phil Spector had "retired" from producing in 1966 after the failure [in the US] of Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep - Mountain High", but popped back in 1969, producing 5 songs for this relatively unknown group. They'd had no previous chart success, but 3 of the 5 made the Billboard Hot 100: "Love is all I have to give" , "Proud Mary"  and "Black Pearl", which took Phil back into the Top 20  for the last time in his "Wall of Sound" mode. The group never again saw chart success. He'd already had enough though at that point and the second part of this record, "The Hair Anthology Suite", for which he gave himself an arranging credit, was produced by someone else. It's a pretentious, unlistenable treatment of "Ain't Got No / I Got Life" and "Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In" from Hair.
Apart from the 3 hits mentioned above there are "Spanish Harlem" and "I Keep Forgettin'". They will appeal to anyone who liked "River Deep". They have the same massive sound, and for me represent a high point in Phil's output, but it was the end of the "Wall of Sound" as we knew it, except for another brief reappearance on Dion's 1975 "Born To Be With You" album. I love all 5 songs like mad. "Spanish Harlem" is utterly gorgeous; "Proud Mary" is one of the most thrilling sounds on record. So, Spector fans, if you've somehow missed this, don't hesitate.
This cd is a limited edition of 5000 copies of the mid 1969 album, it comes in a large replica card sleeve. The sound quality is great, so is most of the music, here is a brief run down of all 6 tracks.
Track 1. Proud Mary 3.30 (not 4.30 as stated on the sleeve) - (Creedence never sounded like this) This is a fantastic song and it's given the full blown treatment by Spector - it never lets up - brilliantly sung by Sonny Charles and co. (sadly always overlooked by compilers - I first heard it on a 1983 greatest Lp. 10/10
Track 2. Spanish Harlem 3.17 - This is a descent version, very different to Ben E Kings version. Contains nice mariachi brass backing. 8/10
Track 3. Black Pearl 3.25 - What a great song, so beautiful. 10/10
Track 4. I Keep forgettin' 3.03 - A good soulful version, perhaps the weakest of the first 5 tracks. 6/10
Track 5. Love is All I Have to Give 4.13 - The last brick in the wall of sound, and in my opinion one of the most outstanding. The lyrics are heartbreaking, the singing by Bobby Stevens is wonderful and its all wrapped up in a cacophonous string laiden melody. 10/10
Track 6. The Hair Anthology Suite 20.00 - Of its time, and best left there - awful. 1/10
Overall this is a must buy for fans. Snap it up - its limited.
on 26 August 2012
I had waited for ages to get this Cd, So was delighted to find it eventually on amazon.
When it was issued as an LP, The tracks on side one were produced by Phil Spector. Side two was an arty collection of songs from 'Hair' and not a Spector creation.
The Spector tracks are still great, The rest have not really aged well, [My opinion]
However the first few tracks on this CD are well worth the purchase.
'Black pearl ' and 'I keep forgetting' are great crashing overlaid epics, masses of backing vocals and swirling strings.
I would recommend buying this if you liked the 'Wall of sound'