Various Artists

Buried Treasure: Lost Gems from Deep in the '60s Vaults

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Mail order reissue label Collectors' Choice Music's Buried Treasure: Lost Gems From Deep in the '60s Vaults is a survey of stray singles originally released between the late '50s and the early '70s by Warner Bros. Records and several other record companies that have been acquired by Warner Bros. over the years, notably Reprise, Atlantic, and Elektra. This is a collection of obscurities, even though 27 of the 40 tracks actually made the pop singles charts, with 17 of those reaching the Top 40, and five even becoming Top Ten hits. The roughly chronological sequencing makes the album something of a history of pop music over the period, as well as a history of Warner Bros., tracing the label's early close association with television production (starting with several songs related to the TV series 77 Sunset Strip) and continuing through the light pop and rock styles of the early '60s, the surf and folk booms, folk-rock, acid rock, and the rock & roll revival of the late '60s and early '70s. That's a lot of ground to cover, but compiler Bob Hyde makes it work by mixing familiar elements with appealing unknowns. Here and there, such notables as the Association, the Byrds (in their early guise as the Beefeaters), Fats Domino, Little Richard, and even Mel Tormé turn up among the performers, and the songwriting credits include Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Roger McGuinn, Harry Nilsson, and Stephen Stills. So, the listener is never too far from something that serves as a touchstone, even as the music traces an alternate history of the '60s through one-hit wonders, novelties, sound-alikes, and also-rans. Chances are, there are at least a couple of all-but-forgotten favorites for any '60s fan, and quite a few discoveries to be made.

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