The Ronettes: Be My Baby – The Very Best of the Ronettes

Fresh mono transfer and remaster of Ronettes’ best

With the Philles catalog now in the licensing hands of Sony Legacy and EMI, the fiftieth anniversary of the label’s 1961 founding is being celebrated with a new round of reissues. First out of the gate are remastered best-of collections for the Ronettes, Crystals, Darlene Love and Phil Spector. This 18-track set includes all eight of the group’s Philles singles (all of which charted, but amazingly flew under the Top 10 except “Be My Baby”), Veronica’s “Why Don’t They Let Us Fall in Love” and “So Young,” the album tracks “I Wonder” and “You Baby,” the B-side “When I Saw You,” the 1969 A&M single “You Came, You Saw, You Conquered,” and a few tracks that went unreleased at the time of their recording. The latter includes a terrific pair (“Paradise” and “Here I Sit”) co-written by a young Harry Nilsson, and previously released on The Phil Spector Masters. This collection duplicates the track line-up of ABKCO’s out-of-print Best of the Ronettes with one exception: the 1964 B-side “How Does it Feel” is replaced here by the group’s last charting single, 1966’s “I Can Hear Music.” The track ordering is mostly chronological to the songs’ recording dates, and Lenny Kaye offers touchingly personal liner notes alongside detailed recording data. This isn’t the vault discovery that fans are waiting for, and many will complain about the all-mono line-up, but with ABKCO’s set itself a collector’s item, this is a welcome overview of the group’s biggest hits. Now, where are the rarities and stereo mixes? [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

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