Now into its third volume, CHARTBUSTERS USA is fast becoming an institution much in the same way as the highly acclaimed Golden Age Of American Rock'n'Roll" series, from which it follows on chronologically. Chartbusters USA is characterised by the same near obsessive attention to detail and audio quality. Each record is individually annotated in the familiar "Golden Age" style and placed within a colourful mosaic of period photos, ads and illustrations that evokes the mood of the times almost as vividly as the music itself.
To qualify for inclusion, every track on Chartbusters USA should have appeared on the US Hot 100 in the period spanning 1963-1969 and retained some, if not all, of the visceral quality that made it a hit in the first place. As with "Golden Age", some records are more obscure than others and therein lies the charm. Amid the majestic splendour of the rarely heard stereo mix of Sony & Cher's I Got You Babe and other mega-hits such as The Letter by the Box Tops, nestle unknowns such as Timmy Shaw whose Gonna Send You Back To Georgia had the misfortune to reach the Hot 100 at the same time as I Want To Hold Your Hand and was all but overwhelmed by the mad rush for Beatle product that gripped America in 1964. The Animals cut the song as the b-side of their first single, re-titling it I'm Gonna Send You Back To Walker.
Then there's Ian Whitcomb whose cod R&B bash, You Turn Me On, was recorded in a demo studio in Dublin, Ireland where Whitcomb was studying at Trinity College. Befittingly, perhaps, the producer was Jerry Dennon who was also responsible for Louie, Louie by the Kingsmen. There is post-modern kitsch in the form of Guantanamera by the Sandpipers, Gale Garnett's wistful folk-pop classic We'll Sing In The Sunshine (regarded as one of the earliest feminist songs), the loping retro blues of Slim Harpo with Baby Scratch My Back, and soul stompers such as I Do by the Marvelows, a 1965 hit later successfully revived by J Geils Band.
CHARTBUSTERS USA VOL 3 is not just another 60s comp but a total experience, the ultimate time capsule from a mythological age when every Fancy Dan saw himself as a would be Austin Powers and every Dolly Bird looked in the mirror and saw a nascent Stephanie Powers or a Twiggy or, quite possibly, a young Barbara Windsor staring back at her.
So there you have it: 29 classic hits - the sounds, the styles, the rhythms - that caught the mood of young America between 1963-1969, all mastered from the best possible sources, together with an informative, action-packed 28-page booklet. Groovy!
By ROB FINNIS