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Various Artists -- Summer Of Love: The Hits of 1967 -- CD review

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Various Artists: Summer Of Love: The Hits of 1967

Various Artists: Summer Of Love: The Hits of 1967

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The Bottom Line

Only Rhino and perhaps Shout! Factory do the reissue thing better than Time-Life, and this two-CD set offers a fish-eye lens view of the birth of the Sixties As We Know Them that is both entertaining and instructional. Will satisfy the aging hippie, the serious prog-rocker, and the neophyte who just wants an incense-scented and peppeminty document of the era.
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Pros

  • These CDs are wisely divided into "AM" and "FM" so you can get the flavor of both.
  • As usual with Time-Life, the selection is excellent: not a necessary track is missed.
  • Modern technology does wonders for the layered sound of psychedelic pop.

Cons

  • Two CDs, believe it or not, would never be enough to capture the movement of the time.
  • The accompanying DVD is a recycled documentary from 1995.

Description

  • Release date: June 19, 2007
  • Time Life 19337
  • Compilation
  • Studio
  • Box set
  • Bonus DVD

Guide Review - Various Artists -- Summer Of Love: The Hits of 1967 -- CD review

1967 was an important year in the old almanac, being the moment where the Sixties really started to wear the title the way we associate it with the decade today -- be-ins, love-ins, antiwar protests, flowers in guns, you name it. But it also marked an important musical tipping point, and not only because the San Franscisco hippie scene was also producing some of the most progressive music in the country. Like most other areas of American society, '67 was when the radio split right in two, with the traditional AM band getting bubblegummy and lighthearted with their odes to love and peace, and the new, hipster FM band becoming the voice of the underground, activist, dark, and deadly serious. So it's logical that Time-Life would split this Summer of Love retrospective into two discs, one each for whatever side of the love-it-or-leave it crowd you were (or still are) on.

The result is a release that expertly defines the era. Sure, you can pick nits about the "FM" disc, which features big AM hits by Van Morrison, The Easybeats and Jefferson Airplane. (Purists will wonder why an FM tribute features a "single version" of Vanilla Fudge's "You Keep Me Hangin' On.") But while the second disc is a merely adequate cross-section of the year's musical experimentation, the AM disc -- which fans of this site are more likely to enjoy -- is perfect. These hits didn't all make the Top 40 during the summer, but they certainly capture the giddy sense of promise felt by all those college kids zipping over to Haight-Ashbury to check out the latest fad. If that sounds cynical, well, it's no worse than the American labels who'd already begun pumping out patchouli-scented pop for the masses. The fact that these poppier nuggets hold up so well, however, has more to do with craft than any philosophical sea change. And that works just fine.

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