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Classic of the Week

Righteous Brothers : "Anthology: 1962-1974" (1989) : Rhino

January 13, 1994|RANDY LEWIS

Since the Santa Ana-bred Righteous Brothers still pop up regularly at Bill Medley's nightclub in Fountain Valley, there's a tendency around here to discount their contributions to pop music. This excellent two-disc anthology makes that impossible. Deep-voiced Medley and his longtime partner with the soaring tenor, Bobby Hatfield, simply made some of the best pop records ever. Such Phil Spector-produced masterpieces as "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' " and "Unchained Melody" are here, of course. But lest you think Spector made this act, check out the pair's earlier recordings for the Moonglow label, produced by Medley and written by him or Hatfield. While not the towering examples of studio artistry that their Spector records would be, "Little Latin Lupe Lu," "My Babe" and "Try to Find Another Man" captured even more exuberant performances, perfectly showcasing their answer to the black R&B they grew up with, a style that led to the coining of the phrase "blue-eyed soul."

Material that followed their second, and last, No. 1 record, "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration," is highlighted by the 1966 gospel-flavored Top 20 hit "He" and Medley's post-breakup solo single from 1968, "Brown-Eyed Woman." Of course, their 1974 reunion hit "Rock and Roll Heaven," a sappy salute to dead rock stars, is included for historical purposes.

For anyone who thinks Michael Bolton knows what soul singing is all about, give this a listen and be prepared to hold on to your socks.

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