2 LPs on 1 CD: WOMAN, WOMAN (1968)/YOUNG GIRL (1968).
Liner Note Author: Mark Marymont.
In essence, Collectables Records' Gary Puckett & the Union Gap compilation A Golden Classics Edition is a two-fer CD combining the group's first two albums, named after its first two singles, Woman, Woman and Young Girl. But the addition at the end of the disc of the next five singles -- "Lady Willpower," "Over You," "Don't Give in to Him," "This Girl Is a Woman Now," and "Let's Give Adam and Eve Another Chance" -- makes this a more thorough best-of for the group, at a generous 76-minute running time. Gary Puckett & the Union Gap was very much a singles act; the first six of those seven singles, all of which reached the Top 15 and four of which went gold, are all most people know the band for. The full contents of the first two albums suggest that that is all the group should be known for, too. The albums are clearly afterthoughts thrown together to generate some LP sales tied into the hit singles. They are dominated by covers of hit records that were in the charts at the time: Glen Campbell's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife" (although, to be fair, Puckett recorded the latter before Campbell scored a hit with it); Cher's "You Better Sit Down Kids"; Neil Diamond's "Kentucky Woman"; the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody"; the Beatles' "Lady Madonna"; Petula Clark's "Kiss Me Goodbye"; Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey"; Manfred Mann's "The Mighty Quinn"; and Aretha Franklin's "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone." The arrangements ape the hit versions, and Puckett gamely applies his tastefully soulful voice to them. There are also some other songs, all of them forgettable except for a good version of Tim Hardin's "Don't Make Promises." An actual greatest-hits set would probably include Puckett's two solo chart entries and selections from subsequent albums. But this collection really contains all that a '60s music fan would want from Gary Puckett & the Union Gap. ~ William Ruhlmann