CD Review of ’60s Gold by Various Artists

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’60s Gold
starstarstarno starno star Label: Hip-O Records
Released: 2006
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LP’s actually started out as singles compilations, believe it or not; the concept of “album” developed later. In the cassette era, compilations became major-label mix tapes – the best of which you'd wear out in your car player and buy again. In the CD era, they became ways to grab one-hit wonders you'd never in a million years fork over $14-$18 a whole album. In the iPod era, the compilation CD is judged by one thing: If I download the songs I want for a buck each, will it cost less than the price of – in this case – a two-CD set? For me the answer is, “it's worth it.”

Tunes on ’60s Gold like Marvin Gaye's "I Heard it Through the Grapevine," the Supremes cuts, "Let it All Hang Out" by the Hombres, and Sam Sham & the Pharaohs' "Wooly Bully" are widely available on soul and garage-psych comps – most '60s fans have them already. If I never get another copy of "Incense and Peppermints," it won't be soon enough.

That being said, there's some good stuff here I hadn't seen in my song-ripping travels: The Troggs' "Wild Thing," the Grass Roots' "Let's Live for Today," Bobby Hebb's "Sunny," and the American Breed's "Bend Me, Shape Me" are among the good ones. "Rescue Me" by Fontella Bass is an all-time classic, yet one rarely sees it on soul comps. And of course, Hugh Masekela's "Grazing in the Grass" – who’d buy that whole CD, or even Hugh's greatest hits? It's here, and his one super hit was actually pretty good.

Overall, there's enough good stuff mixed in with the common to make it worth a good ripping session to fans of this era (which I think was much more musically fertile than today...and I am not a crotchety old hippie, but a late-1970s child). The one black mark against this CD, us MP3-ers will note, is that Disc 2 didn't have its song data entered in Gracenote CDDB. Shame on Hip-O. I submitted my version of it, so anyone who buys this CD can thank me for that – and keep their traps shut if I made any typos.

~Mojo Flucke, PhD