Gene Pitney

Anthology 1961-1968

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This CD, dating from the mid-'80s, is, ironically enough, a perfect companion in design and layout to Rhino's out of print Dionne Warwick Anthology collection. The 16 songs here represent the basis of Pitney's renown as a vocalist -- rock's Caruso, critic Jeff Tamarkin called him -- and is the handiest single CD collection to be found on him in the United States, covering the highlights of his primary years of success. The music is steeped in romantic angst and heartbreak, reminiscent of Roy Orbison's work from the same era, and displaying a stunning vocal range -- "24 Hours From Tulsa" and "True Love Never Runs Smooth," along with much of the rest, sound like romantic screenplays in embryonic form, and "Town Without Pity" was, indeed, from a movie. Those desiring a somewhat broader picture of Pitney's music should look to Sequel Records' low-priced two-CD import Looking Through: The Ultimate Collection, containing 50 songs.

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