Various Artists (Producer Series)

Film directors have always been lionised by their industry and by fans who made household names of Ford, Hitchcock and Spielberg. Record producers, on the other hand, have by-and-large laboured in near-anonymity outside the music business. Ace has thoughtfully remedied that situation with an unofficial series of CDs spotlighting the studio output of visionaries who lived to bring the sounds in their heads to the grooves of a record.

Each of these auteurs relentlessly pursued his aural ideals, always with an eye on that ever-elusive next hit. Phil Spector, Jack Nitzsche, Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy clearly had the magic touch, and Kim Fowley and Gary Paxton managed to grab a couple of brass rings. It’s confounding that such singular geniuses as James Brown, Sly Stone and Brian Wilson were largely unable to duplicate their mega-success with the artists they produced, but each one of these CDs offers a fascinating jaunt into the oeuvre of a titan of pop music.

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