Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels

Mitch Ryder Sings the Hits

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Mitch Ryder Sings the Hits has much better balance than What Now My Love, the album which yielded his last and least-potent of six Top 30 singles. Detroit rockers covering the Supremes' Motown smash "Come See About Me" seemed to be in vogue -- Mark Farner and Don Brewer's excellent version showed up on Monumental Funk -- and Ryder does the song justice as well, the two blue-eyed soul copies fun and worthy of comparison. There's only one Bob Crewe original on this collection of covers, and that tune, "Peaches on a Cherry Tree," is combined to good effect with Leiber & Stoller's "Ruby Baby," an R&B hit for the Drifters in the '50s, a post-Belmonts smash for Dion in 1963. The music has that extra something that eluded the What Now My Love album, a little more intensity on songs like "Let Your Lovelight Shine," and the pop/blues version of Rufus Thomas' 1963 hit "Walking the Dog." Crewe mixes vibes in with the earthy keyboard/guitar sound, and it's just great. There are intriguing black-and-white photographs of Mitch Ryder in his prime inside the gatefold, his trademark open-mouth howl on the cover, as it is on All Mitch Ryder Hits and What Now My Love. It's a distinctive voice and sound on these recordings, more refined even than "Devil With a Blue Dress On" and "Sock It to Me Baby." Bob Crewe certainly had the magic, and it is all over tracks like Toussaint's "I Like It Like That" as well as "Sticks and Stones." Ryder even takes on James Brown with very credible renditions of "Please, Please, Please" and "I Got You," and revitalizes the Bing Crosby/Ray Charles classic "You Are My Sunshine" with a uniquely identifiable arrangement that only Ryder could give it. Mitch Ryder Sings the Hits doesn't get the attention it deserves, but is a solid effort from start to finish and makes for a good party record.

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