Various Artists

20th Century Masters: Best of Brill Building [Universal International]

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There really isn't much like it now anymore, when most artists predominately write or co-write their own material, but for a time, from the late 1940s through the early '60s, professional songwriting pools in New York City and elsewhere turned out most of the era's pop hits. This brief 11-track set touches on just a few of those so-called Brill Building songs, but each is, in its own way, a classic, including Ben E. King's beautiful "Spanish Harlem," the Shangri-Las' hauntingly ominous "Remember (Walking in the Sand)," Tom Jones' rousing, careening "What's New Pussycat?" and Connie Francis' languidly beautiful "Where the Boys Are." It's a brief set, but what's here is more than solid.

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