Darlene Love: Songs of Love

Too short anthology of Darlene Love’s greatness

There’s no arguing that all five of these Darlene Love-sung tunes are classics, but the brief 13-minute running time barely scratches the surface of the singer’s greatness. Collected here are her two hits as lead vocalist of the Los Angeles edition of the Crystals, including their iconic, chart-topping rendition of Gene Pitney’s “He’s a Rebel” and the follow-up “He’s Sure the Boy I Love.” Both were issued under the Crystals’ name, though they were in fact Love and her group the Blossoms doing the singing. “He’s a Rebel” broached new lyrical territory with its depiction of wayward youth, and though the follow-up wasn’t as daring, the warmth of Love’s vocal is a perfect match for Mann & Weil’s lyrics.

Love continued to score with hits under her own name, starting with “(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry.” Framed by church bells and backing vocals, Love’s vocal is love-struck and nearly tearful in its undying devotion. It’s hard to believe this barely cracked the Top 40 at #39. Her next single “Wait ‘til My Bobby Gets Home” is a jaunty brush off, and the closing “A Fine, Fine Boy,” though the weakest of the five songs here, shows how Love could blend the exaltations of her church choir background into a pop song. What’s missing from this collection is substantial; for example, no collection of Love’s music is complete without Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans’ “Not Too Young to Get Married” and her seasonal, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

Bottom line: five classic, original Love/Spector recordings, but this set is too short. Better is the out-of-print 1992 ABKCO CD The Best of Darlene Love (available for download at a bargain price on the Jukebox Joy label), or Phil Spector collections such as Back to Mono, The Phil Spector Collection, and the recent reissue of A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector. With any luck, this is just a teaser for a full line of artist-centric reissues of Phil Spector’s classic productions. Hopefully Darlene Love’s volume will be in the first batch! [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]

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One Response to “Darlene Love: Songs of Love”

  1. Mike Westfall says:

    DARLENE LOVE “THE INTERVIEW”
    http://michaelwestfall.tripod.com/id130.html

    Darlene is a true American talent who belongs in the Rock and Roll hall of Fame

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