Singer/songwriter and producer Bob Crewe kept quite busy through the 1950s and into the mod and swinging 1960s, scoring numerous hits with his solid production on several successful Four Seasons and Mitch Ryder projects. He got to step out into the public eye on his own a bit in 1967, though, when he heard a jingle demo for a Diet Pepsi spot called "Music to Watch Girls By" and quickly rushed into the studio to record a big-band, horn-driven instrumental version of it. Released under the group name the Bob Crewe Generation, the track went Top 20 on the Billboard charts, and Crewe went on to record three albums of similar fare (under the titles Music to Watch Girls By, Music to Watch Birds By, and Let Me Touch You) on his own DynaVoice imprint before the decade ended. This compilation collects the best cuts from those three albums, plus scattered soundtrack pieces and the 45 single-only "Miniskirts in Moscow" to make what amounts to an hourlong cocktail party for time traveling swingers. Crewe's head arrangements (he couldn't play an instrument or read or write music, opting to sing out the various parts for his musicians) are full of expansive horn charts and big, bold percussion shifts that at their best make a perfect 1960s statement, all grin-and-wink bombast that still somehow manages to knowingly parody itself on selections like "Theme from A Man and a Woman," "Music to Watch Girls By" (included here in both the stereo album and mono single versions), the Barbarella theme, and the bubbling and chiming "Brother Dan," which even works a theremin into the mix. Deliberately campy, these tracks have a bigger than life, infectious gait to them, and once you give up and surrender to what sounds like the loudest, boldest cocktail party in history, they're a whole lot of fun.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett