The Complete Original Chart Hits 1964-1969

by: Ronnie Dove

Ronnie Dove was a pop singer whose smooth tenor voice was a comfortable fit in several different contexts; in the late '50s and early '60s, he could sing teenage ballads when that qualified as rock & roll, as the '60s moved on he became a skilled pop crooner who seemed right at home on MOR radio as well as Top 40 outlets, and later he found a home on the country charts. In each instance, Dove didn't have to change his vocal style very much, simply shifting the sound of his arrangements to suit the genre, and if he wasn't as big a star as some of his contemporaries, he had a longer career than most, scoring his first Top 40 hit in 1964 ("Say You") and grazing the lower reaches of the country charts in 1987 ("Rise and Shine"). Dove scored most of his hits during his years recording for Diamond Records, and 21 songs he cut for the label that reached the singles chart in the mid- to late '60s are collected on The Complete Original Chart Hits 1964-1969. While this set stops before Dove made his move into country, you can certainly hear the progression in his approach over the course of this disc; he relied on romantic ballads throughout his career, but while he made a token effort to keep up with changing times as he embraced a slightly grittier style on "I Want to Love You for What You Are" and a cover of Harold Dorman's "Mountain of Love," the man who recorded "I Need You Now" in 1969 seems fundamentally little changed from the guy who cut "Say You" five years earlier, beyond a greater confidence and control of his instrument. Dove was a man who had a way with a love song that had a melancholy trick in the tale, and that gift never failed him, certainly not on the tracks collected here. The Complete Original Chart Hits 1964-1969 was compiled with care, with three songs making their CD debut in true stereo, and another two appearing on CD for the first time ever; add in liner notes from Joseph Lanza that chart the course of Dove's career with plenty of quotes from the singer, and you get an excellent summary of Dove's days as a pop hitmaker in the '60s. ~ Mark Deming

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