The UK's leading reissue label Ace recently shipped its second set paying homage to the great songwriting talents of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. Like its predecessor, it is a mixed bag of original hit singles, remakes, rarities and LP cuts. American Top 40 entries include "Baby I Love You", The Ronettes (# 23 1964 - UK # 11)), "Look of Love", Lesley Gore (# 27 in 1965), "I Wanna Love Him So Bad", The Jelly Beans (# 9 1964), "Chapel of Love" The Dixie Cups (#1 1964 - UK # 22), "Wait Til' My Bobby Gets Home", Darlene Love (#26 1963) and "Da Doo Ron Ron (When He Walked Me Home)", The Crystals (# 3 - UK # 5 1963). Manfred Mann who enjoyed a transatlantic chart topper with Barry/Greenwich's "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy" in 1964 is featured with an EP track from '66. There are album cuts by Sonny & Cher and The Monkees and singles that flopped for Connie Francis, The McCoys, The Tokens and The Chiffons. The two final tracks are performed by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, and the latter in particular, reveals vocal talent. The overall sound is good, but there are (again!) a few unexpected mono recordings: Connie Francis' "Don't Ever Leave Me" (1964) and Sonny & Cher's "Why Don't They Let Us Fall In Love" (1965). The accompanying booklet is as one always expects of Ace very informative and detailed. Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich have written classic pop songs galore ("River Deep, Mountain High", "Be My Baby", "Doo Wah Diddy Diddy", "Hanky Panka", "Then He Kissed Me", "The Leader Of The Pack", "I Can Hear Music", "Sugar Sugar" (Jeff Barry)) et al but Ace has, in my opinion, included too many unknown Barry/Greenwich compositions albeit that quite a few of them are really good.
This is a difficult cd to review. Most music lovers like myself will own the vast majority of these fantastic tracks already. However, I'd still highly recommend buying this cd as the sound quality is excellent through out, it comes with a great 20 page colour booklet that has information about each track. Plus it's great to hear these songs under one roof instead of scattered around your collection. As for the casual listeners who may not know many of these songs at all a part from a few big hits - I'd highly recommend you stop ready this review and buy it now - This is a MUST HAVE cd. It's cram packed with truly great songs - the quality of the music never dips below 8/10 across the 24 tracks. Take the plunge there's lots to discover.
Just to answer the criticism of the first reviewer that this cd contains too many unknown/obscure tracks. I think that he is missing the whole point of this Ace series and that is to provide an overview of the songwriter's career and not a collection of greatest hits. It's the unknown stuff that makes the cd more interesting for the average Ace cd buyer who usually wants something more than a collection of the "usual suspects". If you just want to hear what you already know, you should download 'em.