Various Artists

Born to Be Together: The Songs of Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil

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A companion volume to Ace's 2009 collection Glitter & Gold: Words and Music by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil -- both belong to Ace's ongoing Songwriter series, which splices rarities and interesting covers with easily recognizable hits -- the 2013 compilation Born to Be Together: The Songs of Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil does indeed contain a classic or two not heard on the first Mann & Weil collection. Here, the compilers have found space for the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin,' the Drifters' "Saturday Night at the Movies, the Animals' "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place," and BJ Thomas' "Rock and Roll Lullaby" (still missing are the Crystals' "He's Sure the Boy I Love," Ronettes' "Walking in the Rain" and the Righteous Brothers' "(You're My) Soul and Inspiration"), which means that the other 21 songs here are either deep cuts, curious covers, or minor hit singles. That doesn't mean Born to Be Together tries the patience, however. What's fascinating about this compilation is how it demonstrates how deep Mann & Weill's gifts run, how they wrote operatic pop along with dramatic rock and soul, songs sophisticated enough to not only withstand any kind of arrangement, but to get enhanced by a new view (witness Slade's "Shape of Things to Come"). Which isn't to say that every cover here is an improvement on the original but rather, there is much to cherish here, either in hearing a different version of a familiar song (the Happenings' "Make Your Own Kind of Music") or discovering such relative rarities as Scott Walker's "Angelica," the Everly Brothers' "The Girl Who Sang the Blues," and Ruby & the Romantics' "We'll Love Again." Any serious lover of '60s pop will delight in these tunes and the rest of this disc.

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