The Moonglow Years

by: The Righteous Brothers

For most listeners, the history of the Righteous Brothers begins in 1964 with the release of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" and their accompanying move into the more elaborate arrangements favored by Phil Spector (which they later adapted). In point of fact, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield had been performing since the start of the 1960s in a variety of group settings, and had been cutting (and charting) singles for two years as the Righteous Brothers before their link with Spector. This CD assembles 28 sides that they recorded for the Moonglow label between late 1962 and mid-1964, and there's not a bad track in the bunch. It also doesn't sound a lot like their subsequent records for Spector's Philles label or the work that followed their split with the producer; there's a lot less polish to the musicianship and the arrangements and it's all played lean and fast, with guitar, bass, and drum accompaniment, and ranges freely between blues, gospel, rock & roll, and R&B, the two singers pulling out all of the stops in terms of putting over the songs. Amid the excellent covers of standards such as "My Prayer," "Let the Good Times Roll," "Georgia on My Mind" (naturally), and a handful of Willie Dixon- and Jimmy Reed-authored classics are a surprisingly large number of originals which hold up well. The producers utilized excellent sources, including undubbed studio masters and original session tapes, and the resulting sound was state of the art at the time and remains impressive even a decade after the release of this CD. ~ Bruce Eder

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