Various Artists (Phils Spectre)

Phil Spector's vision rose far above and beyond that of any of his contemporaries. In fact, Spector saw himself as the sole occupant of a parallel recording universe where his was the only way, and everyone else was nowhere. This, to a large degree, was what made him 'different' and 'difficult' in equal measure.

One only has to hear the absorbing out-takes from some of his Philles sessions to gain an insight into the man. Hovering authoritatively in the control room at the fabled Gold Star studios, he is by turns, cocky, amusing and skittish depending on the mood of the moment. Above all, he is endlessly patient. As take after take is aborted (over 30 on Be My Baby) and the massed musicians, numbed by repetition, are audibly beginning to wilt, Spector acts as a calming presence, nonchalantly easing them into one take after another, as though their interests, as much as his, were at stake. 

It took a unique man to create such historic sounds and, given his commercial success, he was bound to attract imitators. 

Sundry producers, artists, songwriters and arrangers attempted to hitch a ride on the Spector bandwagon in the period spanning, roughly, 1963-1967. Some of them came tantalisingly close to getting it right, most notably those who had actually worked alongside Spector such as Sonny Bono, Nino Tempo, Jack Nitzsche and the Righteous Brothers, all of whose work is amply represented here. Others were too conventional in their approach to get it right.


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