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Ronnie Spector - The Very Best of Ronnie Spector

  by Lisa Torem

published: 11 / 1 / 2016

Ronnie Spector - The Very Best of Ronnie Spector
Label: EMI
Format: CD


Impressive collection that draws from 1960s artist Ronnie Spector’s recordings with the Ronettes and as a solo artist

Ronnie Spector achieved fame in the early 1960s as lead singer of The Ronettes with her cousin Nedra Talley and sister Estelle Bennett. Producer Phil Spector discovered this popular all-girl group in New York City. His “wall of sound” studio technique was created in conjunction with the famous Los Angeles “Wrecking Crew” and included lush strings; spunky bass and thumping backbeats over which Veronica and her backing singers showcased pitch perfect harmonies. This collection includes the hits that Spector and his crew recorded plus additional arrangements from Veronica Spector’s solo career as well as never-seen-before photos and copious liner notes. ‘Do I Love You?’ features dreamy back and forth harmonies and Spector’s spellbinding vibrato plus a gratuitous sax outro. “We want to get married but we’re so young,” Spector moans in ‘So Young’ - the song offers a gorgeous glimpse into teen romance. The following songs are similar in that they also broadcast a very positive spin on love and the ecstatic joy that only it can bring: ‘You Baby’ and ‘Baby I Love You’, where Spector’s voice rises superbly above the jangly beats, and she wisely chooses not to compete with the orchestral fills. If you can ignore the crackling clashes of thunder, you will totally enjoy ‘Walking in the Rain’, which is another outstanding arrangement. Veronica’s voice is completely sincere and captivating and don’t forget the “whoa, oh, oh’s” here which went on to inform her signature sound. ‘The Best Part of Breaking Up’ finds Ronnie bringing out her little-heard bluesiness before the signature ‘Be My Baby’. It’s a finely constructed ballad, nevertheless, not too many artists could have made this song such an evocative one and she has made and kept it as her own for years after. It is spectacularly earnest and so reminiscent of the uncompromising vows that the innocent young are prone to make. “The sound of the city” truly does dissipate when Spector swoons: ‘I Can Hear Music’. The brass counterpoint is a study in beguiling structure. ‘Lesser known is ‘Paradise’ which is also rife with optimism, but the arrangement is not as poppy and commercial as the rest. ‘Try Some Buy Some’ comes from her spell working with George Harrison. The transitions are unpredictable and strangely psychedelic yet Spector weaves her way through this one like a pro. A few songs like ‘Lover Lover’ and ‘Love on a Rooftop’ suffer from too-loud instrumentals, although in the former Spector’s country spin will pique the interest of the more curious fan. ‘You Mean So Much To Me’ is done with Southside Johnny. It starts with vigour like a bullet train - -the duo gets better and better as Johnny’s gridiron attacks rub against Spector’s coy and demonstrative reactions. ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ features Spector’s excellent phrasing. She remains the master at milking the essence of a phrase. This desperate lover’s plea enjoys exuberant embellishments courtesy of that jewellery box piano and aching sax. Billy Joel recorded ‘Say Goodbye to Hollywood’ in 1967 and Spector recorded it a decade later with the E-Street Band. In her version she retains Joel’s wistfulness with out pinching his style. ‘Something’s Gonna Happen’ is a refreshing detour from Spector’s classic sound and is rhythmically inventive. Watch out for Joey Ramone’s backing vocals on ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory’—the two formed a successful partnership and this one serves as an appropriate tease. The most unique stories turn up last: “I’m not some kind of disease that you can cure,” Spector spits out in ‘All I Want’. A man that has stupidly taken her for granted has sorely neglected her and she’s finally sounding off. The brilliant riffery by the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards makes it an even more striking performance piece. The closer ‘Farwell to a Sex Symbol’ is incredibly powerful and perhaps one of Spector’s most confessional undertakings. “How much I long to be unrecognized,” she begins. Her voice pivots and creaks from exhaustion and hints at a repressed vengeance. “You can keep the whole shebang, parasitic gang and nuts galore around my door,” she surmises. Finally when she croons, “Baby doll’s gonna quit while she’s ahead” the fakery of fame crumbles down around her, leaving her exposed but somewhat hopeful for a normal existence.

Track Listing:-
1 Do I Love You?
2 So Young
3 You Baby
4 Baby, I Love You
5 Walking in the Rain
6 (The Best Part Of) Breakin' Up
7 Be My Baby
8 I Can Hear Music
9 Paradise
10 Try Some, Buy Some (Remastered)
11 Lover, Lover
12 You Mean so Much to Me (Live)
13 Baby Please Don't Go (Mono Version)
14 Say Goodbye to Hollywood
15 Love on a Rooftop
16 Something's Gonna Happen
17 You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory
18 All I Want
19 Farewell to a Sex Symbol

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