Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Similarly Requested CDs
Sublime Music, Poor Audio Transfer
Rachel Lai | London, Ontario Canada | 01/02/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This 19-track set is the only widely-available Crystals collection, which is, to me, a crime. A crime becuase the music is so good, but also a crime because it sounds so horrible (resulting in only a 4-star rating). "Digitally remastered by Phil Spector" seems promising, but in the end, just doesn't cut it.First of all, I was very pleased by the track selection as presented here. All of the group's major hits ("Da Doo Ron Ron", "Then He Kissed Me", the gorgeous "Uptown", and "He's A Rebel") are present, along with standards such as "There's No Other Like My Baby". However, the disc might have been augmented by including The Crystals' contributions to Phil Spector's classic "A Christmas Gift For You" as well as their novelty records such as the long lost "Let's Dance (The Screw)" or "The Frankenstein Twist". Also, where are the smaller hits like "In The Morning" and "When The Right Boy Comes Along"? Considering the length of a compact disc, these extra tracks would have easily fit, and would have rendered this collection definitive.I was disappointed, however, in the transfer of the music. I'm an admitted audiophile, and this is one of the most problematic discs I've heard (along with "The Best Of The Ronettes" and the "Back To Mono" box set; such low standards seem to be a common occurence on ABCKO collections). The company claims these tracks were digitally remastered by Phil Spector himself, so why does it sound like someone remastered them in a bathroom somewhere? The songs are muffled and much too quiet ("Girls Can Tell" sounds absolutely awful...nothing like it did on the original 45 in 1962), and, yes (sigh), presented in mono. This does affect the songs: they sounds weak and anemic, not lively. When Darlene Love sounds meek, you know you're in trouble. And, while mono purists may decry this, I would love to see a double disc set with the tracks presented in wide stereo. I am in possession of remastered stereo editions of many of these songs, and they sound more like the original hits than these do: the mono in this case is harsh and poorly mastered.For anyone who is interested in a better Crystals collection, I would suggest "The Ultimate Collection", which was released on Marginal Records in Europe in 1997. It is a more expansive collection (at 28 tracks) and the digital remastering is much better than on this disc. However, this collection is still easy to find and very well priced, so I would recommend a purchase at this time. Toss it, however, the moment they do a proper, Motown-quality digital remastering of the material. It certainly deserves it."
The best of the many incarnations of Phil Spector's Crystals
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 01/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even with its pink cover "The Best of the Crystals" is the best compilation of songs by the girl group from the 1960s (not to be confused with the doo-wop group from the 1950s). The cover refers to "The Original Phil Spector Hits" and the voices of Lala Brooks, Barbara Alston and Darlene Love. Each of those ladies was the lead vocalist for the Crystals at different times (as were others, such as Patricia Wright on "Oh, Yeah, Maybe, Baby"), and under decidedly different situations because Spectator was not only the group's producer, he owned the name. This explains why the group's biggest hit, "He's a Rebel," which spent 18 weeks on the chart and hit #1, was recorded by Darlene Love and the Blossoms in Los Angeles under the Crystals name while the Crystals themselves were sitting back in New York. But even with their strange history the Crystals remain one of the greatest of the girl groups and a key part of what the American music scene was like in the early 1960s before the British Invasion changed everything forever.
With 19 tracks laid out in chronological order this collection is able to cover all of the bases. In terms of songs that made it to the Billboard Top 100 Pop Singles you get "There's No Other (Like My Baby)" (#20), "Uptown" (#13), "Da Doo Ron (When He Walked Me Home)" (#3), "He's Sure the Boy I Love" (#11), "Then He Kissed Me" (#6), "All Grown Up" (#98) and "Little Boy" (#92). The last two songs were released as singles in 1964 so you can see what impact the Beatles were having on girl groups, even great R&B artists like the Crystals. But as you would expect there are some pretty good songs that never made it to the charts in this collection, such as "What a Nice Way to Turn 17," "Another Country - Another World," "Look in My Eyes," and "I Wonder."
One of the things that make the Crystals stand out is that not only is their music so great, but the stories behind some of these songs are so unforgettable. With "He's a Rebel," Spector was worried that somebody else would cut the song first, so he recorded it in L.A. with Darlene Love and the Blossoms but released it under the Crystals name (Steve Douglas does the sax solo). Love was the lead singer on "He's Sure the Boy I Love," the group's next hit, but the song also made Spector a name producer at the age of 21 and established his signature "wall of sound." Then there is the infamous "He Hit Me (And it Felt Like a Kiss)."
Spector was working out of the Brill Building in New York where one of the hottest songwriting teams was Gerry Goffin and Carole King, whose live-in babysitter was 19-year-old Eva Boyd (a.k.a. Little Eva). The story is that Eva returned from a weekend with her boyfriend covered in bruises, but insisted he only hit her because he loved her. Goffin and King turned the experience into a song with the major change that the girl had been "untrue," and therefore, apparently deserved to be hit. Barbara Alston sang poignantly and Spector gave the song a dark and ominous sound, but complaints started coming in big time to radio stations and the single was pulled just before it hit the charts. Geoffin and King tried again with the Crystals on "Please Hurt Me," but the big irony here is that the idea here is essentially the same as in the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical "Carousel." The result is a strange footnote to music in the 1960s and this album is one of only two (both put out by ABKCO) where you can get this infamous song.
But the chief attraction here remains the hits of the Crystals. "Then He Kissed Me" is my favorite, due in no small part to its role in the movie "Adventures in Babysitting." Unfortunately the group was constantly at odds with Spector, who turned his attention to the Ronettes and their lead singer Veronica Bennett (Spector's future bride). The result is that the Crystals are clearly the second most successful girl group of all time, after Diana Ross and the Supremes, but if Spector had given the Crystals the songs he was giving the Ronettes (e.g., "Walking in the Rain"), those final standings might be different. But instead, Spector gave the Crystals the totally bizarre "(Let's Dance) The Screw," where he recited lyrics while the Crystals sang background. The song was basically a sick joke, having to do with Spector fulfilling his contract, and becomes another infamous footnote to the history of one of the greatest Girl Groups."
NOT digital remastering
W. F. Schultz | 03/11/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"It plainly states on MY copy of this CD that Phil Spector chose to master this in analog, NO digital remastering. That is why the sound quality is so VERY poor for the beauty and power of these songs and this artist group, and Phil's own powerful production! His choice, not ABCKO.