Various Artists

Night Walker: The Jack Nitzsche Story, Vol. 3

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The third volume of Ace's ongoing Jack Nitzche anthology ditches chronology from the get-go, opening with the frenzied voodoo rock of C.C. Adcock's "Castin' My Spell," taken from the last session Nitzche ever produced. Soon afterward, Night Walker snaps back to 1970 for "Poor White Hound Dog," a selection from the Performance soundtrack, and the rest of the 26-track compilation winds up bouncing between sounds, eras, and styles, a move that's all the better to emphasize the common threads in Nitzche's work. Whether he's working with girl groups (the Ronettes), renegade rockers (Mink Deville), legends (the Everly Brothers), teen idols (Lou Christie), folkies (Modern Folk Quintet), or psychedelic mavericks (Buffalo Springfield), his ear for cinematic soundscapes is intact, and that gives Night Walker cohesion no matter how many years it skips between tracks. Another distinguishing factor of Night Walker is how Ace now has the ability to license tracks that were previously unavailable to the label. Chief among these, of course, are sides released on Phil Spector's Philles label, and their inclusion winds up giving Night Walker depth, suggesting just how rich and varied Nitzche's talents were. There aren't many big hits here -- the Springfield's "Expecting to Fly" is a major item, the Alley Cats' "Puddin' N' Tain" was a bit of a hit -- but that emphasis on lesser-known selections helps put the spotlight on Nitzche's studio skills, which sound perhaps even more majestic with time.

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