Chartbusters USA, Vol. 2

Various Artists

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Chartbusters USA, Vol. 2 Review

by Richie Unterberger

Like volume one, this is a high-grade assortment of hits, all but one by American artists, from the five years or so following the Beatles' invasion of the United States (though a couple of the tracks are from 1963). If there's one thing that might keep some listeners from lavishing unrestrained praise on this collection, it's that there's no real theme other than they were all, or virtually all, big hits and all pretty good. (You can't even say that the theme is American pop and rock, due to the inclusion of the Zombies' "Time of the Season.") Naturally, part of what makes rock and '60s rock in particular interesting is its diversity, and this 29-song anthology covers a lot of bases. Among them are folk-rock (the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man"), blue-eyed soul (the Rascals' "Good Lovin'," the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"), Motown (Martha & the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street"), psychedelia (the Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love"), hard rock (Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride"), hot rod (Jan & Dean's "Little Old Lady from Pasadena"), and garage rock (the Syndicate of Sound's "Little Girl," the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie"). Plus there's good old pop/rock in the Turtles, one-shots like John Fred's "Judy in Disguise" and the Newbeats' "Bread & Butter," and even a little non-rock in Mongo Santamaria's "Watermelon Man" and Lalo Schifrin's "Mission: Impossible." Nothing here's real rare; even the few low-charting items, like Jerry Jeff Walker's original version of "Mr. Bojangles" and the Gants' cover of "Road Runner," aren't hard to get elsewhere. But if you're not a specialist collector yet are on the lookout for '60s oldies anthologies, this series and this volume are recommended above most others. That's due to the exceptional quantity (29 songs on a single disc), consistent high quality (even the novelties and light pop tunes here are fun guilty pleasures), and packaging (excellent annotation provides the stories, some relatively little known, behind each track).

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 The Young Rascals 02:30 SpotifyAmazon
2 Classics IV 02:50 SpotifyAmazon
3 The Lovin' Spoonful 02:40 SpotifyAmazon
4 The Syndicate of Sound 02:27 SpotifyAmazon
5 The Kingsmen 02:44 SpotifyAmazon
6 The Righteous Brothers 03:43 SpotifyAmazon
7 Bob & Earl 03:05 SpotifyAmazon
8 Martha & the Vandellas 02:40 SpotifyAmazon
9 Mason Williams 03:04 SpotifyAmazon
10 Jerry Jeff Walker 03:44 SpotifyAmazon
11 The Byrds 02:17 SpotifyAmazon
12 Sonny & Cher 03:08 SpotifyAmazon
13 The Castaways 01:53 SpotifyAmazon
14 Lalo Schifrin 02:33 SpotifyAmazon
15 The Strangeloves 02:44 SpotifyAmazon
16 Jefferson Airplane 02:58 SpotifyAmazon
17 Tony Joe White 03:40 SpotifyAmazon
18 Steppenwolf 04:25 SpotifyAmazon
19 Ike & Tina Turner 02:00 SpotifyAmazon
20 John Fred & His Playboy Band 02:55 SpotifyAmazon
21 Mongo SantamarĂ­a 02:27 SpotifyAmazon
22 The Bobby Fuller Four 02:01 SpotifyAmazon
23 Bobby Hebb 02:44 SpotifyAmazon
24 Neal Hefti Orchestra 02:19 SpotifyAmazon
25 The Newbeats 01:57 SpotifyAmazon
26 Jan & Dean 02:31 SpotifyAmazon
27 The Zombies 02:54 SpotifyAmazon
28 The Gants 02:17 SpotifyAmazon
29 The Turtles 02:31 SpotifyAmazon
blue highlight denotes track pick