Johnny Nash

The Sixties Compilation

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Subtitled "the best-of the ABC years and many more great titles, " this 32-song disc presumably assembles sides prior to Nash's late-'60s commercial breakthrough with "I Can See Clearly Now." As usual, Marginal does not supply any liner notes beyond song titles and composer credits, and without access to a full discography, it's just guesswork for us young 'uns. Before the late '60s, Nash was a well-traveled soul journeyman without much in the way of an imposing personality or strong material, although he did a decent job on some singles. Much of this (with some tunes, but not many, written by Nash) is competent '60s soul in various pop-soul idioms, with the occasional cut that makes a greater imprint than others. Among those would be "Falling in and out of Love," which certainly has a Caribbean influence not far removed from his late-'60s work; the swinging "Love Ain't Nothing," cut in 1964 during his brief stay at Chess; and an obscure Phil Spector produced single from 1961, "World of Tears"/"Some of Your Lovin'," which sounds like a more pop-oriented version of the Drifters (Spector also co-wrote both sides with Terry Phillips). A good deal of the disc -- about a dozen tracks, in fact -- is devoted to tame readings of pop and jazz standards (probably from his stint with ABC in the late '50s and early '60s), which diminish the value of this collection somewhat. Otherwise, it's OK listening for both Nash fans and serious soul collectors, as Nash tries on a variety of styles for size, from Johnny Mathis and Sam Cooke to pretty earthy grooves, with mixed results.