Thursday, 16 May 2019

Phil Spector ‎– Back To Mono (1958-1969) (1991)

Style: Doo Wop, Pop Rock, Ballad, Rhythm & Blues
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: ABKCO

1.01.   The Teddy Bears - To Know Him Is To Love Him
1.02.   Ray Peterson - Corrine, Corrina
1.03.   Ben E. King - Spanish Harlem
1.04.   Curtis Lee - Pretty Little Angel Eyes
1.05.   Gene Pitney - Every Breath I Take
1.06.   The Paris Sisters - I Love How You Love Me
1.07.   Curtis Lee - Under The Moon Of Love
1.08.   The Crystals - There's No Other Like My Baby
1.09.   The Crystals - Uptown
1.10.   The Crystals - He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)
1.11.   The Crystals - He's A Rebel
1.12.   Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans - Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
1.13.   The Alley Cats - Puddin' N' Tain
1.14.   The Crystals - He's Sure The Boy I Love
1.15.   Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans - Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Hearts
1.16.   Darlene Love - (Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry
1.17.   The Crystals - Da Doo Ron Ron
1.18.   The Crystals - Heartbreaker
1.19.   Veronica - Why Don't They Let Us Fall In Love
1.21.   Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans - Not Too Young To Get Married
1.22.   Darlene Love - Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home
1.23.   The Crystals - All Grown Up
2.01.   The Ronettes - Be My Baby
2.02.   The Crystals - Then He Kissed Me
2.03.   Darlene Love - A Fine, Fine Boy
2.04.   The Ronettes - Baby, I Love You
2.05.   The Ronettes - I Wonder
2.06.   The Crystals - Girls Can Tell
2.07.   The Crystals - Little Boy
2.08.   The Treasures - Hold Me Tight
2.09.   The Ronettes - (The Best Part Of) Breakin' Up
2.10.   The Ronettes - Soldier Baby Of Mine
2.11.   Darlene Love - Strange Love
2.12.   Darlene Love - Stumble And Fall
2.13.   The Ronettes - When I Saw Your
2.14.   Veronica - So Young
2.15.   The Ronettes - Do I Love You?
2.16.   The Ronettes - Keep On Dancing
2.17.   The Ronettes - You, Baby
2.18.   The Ronettes - Woman In Love (With You)
2.19.   The Ronettes - Walking In The Rain
3.01.   The Righteous Brothers - You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
3.02.   The Ronettes - Born To Be Together
3.03.   The Righteous Brothers - Just Once In My Life
3.04.   The Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody
3.05.   The Ronettes - Is This What I Get For Loving You?
3.06.   Darlene Love - Long Way To Be Happy
3.07.   The Righteous Brothers - (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
3.08.   The Righteous Brothers - Ebb Tide
3.09.   The Modern Folk Quartet - This Could Be The Night
3.10.   The Ronettes - Paradise
3.11.   Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep, Mountain High
3.12.   Ike & Tina Turner - I'll Never Need More Than This
3.13.   Ike & Tina Turner - A Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knockin' Everyday)
3.14.   Ike & Tina Turner - Save The Last Dance For Me
3.15.   The Ronettes - I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine
3.16.   The Ronettes - You Came, You Saw, You Conquered
3.17.   Sonny Charles And The Checkmates Ltd. - Black Pearl
3.18.   The Checkmates Ltd. - Love Is All I Have To Give
4.01.   Darlene Love - White Christmas
4.02.   The Ronettes - Frosty The Snowman
4.03.   Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans - The Bells Of St. Mary
4.04.   The Crystals - Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
4.05.   The Ronettes - Sleigh Ride
4.06.   Darlene Love - Marshmallow World
4.07.   The Ronettes - I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Claus
4.08.   The Crystals - Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
4.09.   Darlene Love - Winter Wonderland
4.10.   The Crystals - Parade Of The Wooden Soldiers
4.11.   Darlene Love - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
4.12.   Bob B. Soxx And The Blue Jeans - Here Comes Santa Claus
4.13.   Phil Spector And Artists - Silent Night

You hear so many stories of where Phil Spector held the artists he was working with at gunpoint. This really raises the question; is it really worth all the psychological trauma just so you can get a "wall of sound"? I mean, surely there are some quality record producers out there who aren't psychopaths? After listening to Back to Mono.. the answer should be fairly obvious. Of course it was bloody worth it. 
He turned average pop songs into epic, timeless pop that echoes around in your head long after it's over. And if that's the good in the legacy he leaves, then I guess that negates all the bad he did with killing people. Maybe not, but w/e. Back to Mono takes us waaay back to 1958 when Phil Spector was just a wide-eyed gangly back-up singer for the doo-wop group The Teddy Bears and their hit single "To Know Him Is to Love Him". But he made names out of Darlene Love, and The Crystals and The Ronettes. Darlene Love is just great; she puts her heart and soul, and entire existence, into every word she sings (even though I prefer The Dixie Cups' version of "Chapel of Love"). "Spanish Harlem" is so smooth, that Ben E. King sure can Ben E. SING. 
The negatives... well it's a big-ass boxset, so not everything is going to be perfect. Listening to Phil Spector for 3-hours straight makes me want to kill people. There's a pretty hefty string of weak songs that occurs after "Baby, I Love You" and doesn't really end until The Righteous Brothers finally declare it's over with "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (I don't care too much about The Ronettes.. Other than a few tunes, I find them rather dull). Phil Spector is great at finding talent. Because The Righteous Brothers are the two most soulful white guys on the planet; it's amazing how he could locate them like that. He should be a scout for the Seattle Mariners. To this day, I'd have to imagine that "Unchained Melody" is still the best song to make sweet, sweet love to. 
I also find it amazing that Phil Spector worked with Ike & Tina Turner. It's a nice little train of abuse: Spector beats Ike who in turn beats Tina, who beats the shit out of songs with her mighty voice. "A Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knocking Everyday)" is goddessly. I can't believe Tina Turner got away with singing "Save the Last Dance for Me", changing up the lyrics to put the female as the first person. Basically her bragging about how she's dancing with some other guy, as Ike watches on in pure rage. Danger in the studio! 
Phil Spector is a generous person, because he tacked on a Christmas gift to the end! Just for me! I already heard it prior to listening to this box set, and wall of sound + classic Christmas songs is a pretty charming combination. However, the original Christmas song "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" is perhaps the finest song in the entire box set. Darlene Love just leaves it all on the tape, and you empathize so much with her lonely soul. Holidays can be the happiest times for some people, but conversely, also the most depressing times for other people. It's no fun feeling sad when everybody else is happy. Just ask Darlene. 
Phil Spector is the man, but may he rot in hell. I listened to the whole thing in one sitting, and it's like setting off 50-grenades simultaneously in my brain.
Seattle_Junkie_Queen / RYM

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