Q (12/01, p.162) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Pitney is not a great, but these 50 well-packaged tracks confirm it was a close call."
Recorded between 1961 and 1973.
Contains 50 tracks.
This 50-song collection contains everything that's on Rhino Records' single-CD Gene Pitney compilation, plus a lot more, and all of it is in release order, but it's got more than just excellent music -- the producers interviewed Pitney for the jacket notes, and he basically walks you through the history of each song and the background on how it came to be recorded and released. It's easy to dismiss Pitney as an early-'60s phenomenon, and it is true that his most well-remembered and influential singles came out of that period, up through 1965, but as this set and the interview remind you, he continued to chart records in the United States until the end of the decade, albeit on the low end of the charts, and was making a much bigger splash in Europe and elsewhere during that same period, regularly making the Top Ten in England. This two-CD set gives you a step-by-step account of the progress and changes in Pitney's career across an entire decade and more, and offers listeners a chance to catch up on singles that they may well have missed at the time. Pitney was never less than a powerful singer, even when American pop music moved in a direction that made that talent seem less than essential or cutting edge -- squeezed somewhere between the rock and pop world after the mid-'60s, he made superb records that simply couldn't get picked up on enough radio play lists to make an impact in America. This collection restores all of it to availability, in excellent sound, and ends with his 1988 chart comeback "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart," cut with Marc Almond -- originally a 1967 single that made it to number five in England, the new version put him back in the number one spot 21 years later. Between all of that and a list price of well under 20 dollars, this is a difficult collection to pass up. ~ Bruce Eder