Ronnie Spector

Dangerous, 1976-1987

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Ronnie Spector's vocal work on the "Miami" Steve Van Zandt tune "Baby Please Don't Go" is amazingly perfect, overshadowed only by the majesty of the opening track, "Say Goodbye to Hollywood." The two songs were on a 1977 Epic single and they are the highlight of this superb collection released by the Raven label out of Australia. Dangerous is a compilation that features the various sides Spector cut for Columbia. The Top Five hit "Take Me Home Tonight," released in 1986 as a duet with Eddie Money, was the only one of his ten hits to land that high on the charts. It is also Spector's second biggest career hit under "Be My Baby," which, of course, is what she sings in this tune. Her other track with Eddie Money, "Who Can Sleep," provides more proof that she brought the best out of Money. "Who Can Sleep" works in the same way that "Baby Please Don't Go" grabs you -- with slow-moving intensity. Her cameo on a Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes album, "You Mean So Much to Me," sounds like the duet that it is in the context of this album. These five performances precede the re-release of her Unfinished Business album, and the music flows almost seamlessly. "Love on a Rooftop" is the girl group stuff fans expect, exquisitely produced for Columbia. "Dangerous" is where the Go-Go's should've gone to reinvent themselves, and that Spector tips her hat to the new gals on the block is impressive. Elvis Presley's "Burnin' Love" is put to a dance beat, and it works. What's important about this cover is that it takes Spector away from the elements producers and fans had locked her into. The track "Unfinished Business" is modeled after Hall & Oates' 1984 number one single "Out of Touch." The track, like most of this record, is terrific. The Ronettes' immortal first album and Spector's Siren LP, produced by girl group pioneer Genya Ravan, were the only full length albums by this rock legend. Dangerous is an important and elegant addition to the small output. Glenn A. Baker co-conceived and compiled this treasure, and his liner notes are meticulous, covering all the 45s, album tracks, and unreleased titles Spector recorded along the way. That material is also top-notch and would have made a nice second CD, but with 77 minutes here, including an 18-minute interview with Spector, it's hard to complain. "True to You," "Heart Song," and the dainty "When We Danced" (which has the charm of a Harriet Schock record) are all serious contributions to the Spector catalog. "Good Love Is Hard to Find" is a modern "Walking in the Rain" meets Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, a definite and worthwhile tribute to Phil Spector. A live version of "You Mean So Much to Me" concludes the musical portion of the program, providing the listener with more of the star power that drives this set. Without Ronnie Spector's unique voice, the record would misfire. Billy Joel contributes to the superior liner notes, exposing his fanatical appreciation. Some may disagree with the opinion that "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" is Joel's finest achievement, but it explodes off this disc and is the perfect opening track. To have it here, lovingly compiled, is a dream come true.

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