Liner Note Author: Mick Patrick.
Photographers: Steve Richards ; Eddie Smith .
Unlike Hung on You, Ace's third dip into the Gerry Goffin & Carole King catalog, Sweet Things from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook -- the label's third compilation of the duo's songs -- contains a pretty heavy dose of big hits. Chalk this up to the label being able to secure licensing for Phil Spector and Shadow Morton productions, an achievement that eluded them in 2008 when they released Do-Wah-Diddy: Words and Music by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry. Here, the Crystals' "Then He Kissed Me" and the Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack" anchor a disc of 24 tracks that celebrate the heyday of the Brill Building, usually via the mid-'60s singles that provided all the glory but also through a few '70s reflections. The latter provides some variety at the end of the collection -- the Strangeloves pounding away through the trashy teen anthem "Honey Do," Freddie Scott getting funky on "Am I Grooving You," Wilson Pickett grooving through the bubblegum "Sugar, Sugar," giving it more grit than it needs, Dusty Springfield's soulful "What Good Is I Love You," Andy Kim turning "Be My Baby" into a tinny AM pop sensation, and the Paley Brothers reviving Spectorisms as power pop -- but the appeal of Sweet Things rests in those exquisitely sculpted pieces or professional pop, so finely made that even the non-hits seem like testaments to the glory days of the 7" single. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine