The Chiffons scored three of the biggest hits of the girl group era. "He's So Fine," "One Fine Day," and "Sweet Talkin' Guy" pop up on girl group collections regularly and their soulful but light vocals over peppy musical backing can be seen as a template for the girl group sound. Those three songs lead off Fuel 2000's Absolutely the Best!, a budget-priced 14-track collection of the group's work, in stunning fashion. While the Chiffons never did anything to top that holy trio, they did come up with some fine songs, many of which are included here. Sweet ballads like "Did You Ever Go Steady," "I Have a Boyfriend," and "Just for Tonight" were their strong suit, but they could also tear things up politely as "A Love So Fine," the Northern soul-flavored "When the Boy's Happy (The Girl's Happy Too)," and their cover of Dion & the Belmonts' "I Wonder Why" show. Absolutely the Best! is an OK collection, but it does leave off a couple of key songs -- namely the band's ironic cover of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" (recorded after the writer of "He's So Fine" sued Harrison for cribbing the melody for his tune) and the moody and strange "Nobody Knows What's Going On in My Mind But Me," written and produced by the eccentric Brute Force. Unless you are on a tight budget, you should probably spring for One Fine Day on Remember, which features the latter song plus 12 more songs than Absolutely the Best! Or you could try to hunt down a copy of the out of print Best of the Chiffons on Laurie, which has both "My Sweet Lord" and "Nobody Knows." Better still would be a collection that actually had all their best songs on it. Hmm, maybe the next label to attempt it will get it right. Until then, you need to get "He's So Fine," "One Fine Day," and "Sweet Talkin' Guy" into your collection one way or another, and at least Absolutely the Best! does that.
Absolutely the Best! Review
by Tim Sendra