Gettin' To Me is a sensational compilation that checks out so many personal requirements that I shall keep a copy close at hand henceforth. Just reviewing it here evokes a cerebral wanderer's return to mid-60s nights, buffing the tiny dancefloors of the Scene, Marquee, Flamingo and the 100 Club. Such a fine collection of Atlantic treasures deserves a far more descriptive review than time and space allow, so I can't wax lyrical about each individual track and am forced to skip the laser to touch on just a few.
If You Can't Be True is Marva Lee's great remake of Gene Chandler's original (the flip of What Now) a superb Curtis Mayfield song and a long-standing favourite with B-side buffs. Other glorious tracks include the falsetto Parliaments' A New Day Begins, the excellent Ben E King/Bert Berns' classic Cry No More and Esther Phillips' show stopper Just Say Goodbye. I can't leave out the Drifters' In The Land Of Make Believe, an inspired combination of Leiber/Stoller production, Gary Sherman arrangement, Bacharach/David song and tortured lead vocal from Rudy Lewis (with assistance from Johnny Moore on the final half that adds extra melodrama). This magical track always transports you somewhere else, an illusion that the team also achieved on Mexican Divorce, Another Night With The Boys and Let The Music Play. It's a mastergroove.
If one must single out just one cut as the highlight, the spot must fall to the title track, the long awaited Gettin' To Me. The background story of which goes something like this...Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller produced a session at Bell Studios in New York in February '66 with Atco soul supremo, Ben E King. Though this recording session only yielded two finished songs, they were both superb cuts that, for reasons best known to themselves, Atlantic didn't issue right away. Where's The Girl, a wonderful Leiber/Stoller ballad, was eventually released on the flipside of It's Amazing, a single that flopped in late '68. Mike & Jerry had produced the original recording for Jerry Butler back in '63, when he was between hits, so neither version of this great ballad really got the full recognition it deserves. The second song that was cut that day, Gettin' To Me, stayed in the Atlantic vaults until a disastrous fire in the early 70s destroyed the master, along with most of Atlantic's other great unissued gems.
Fortunately for Ady Croasdell (who discovered a metal pressing of this long lost ammonite buried in a West End second hand record shop, circa the tail end of the last century) and consequently the rest of us, the miracle of modern technology has restored this unique record, now released for the first time. Not only has it an unmatched vocal performance from King, it also provides a rare insight to the creative development of Leiber & Stoller during that period. They had tired of their executive roles at Red Bird and wanted to get back to action in the studio. The magic combination of Leiber/Stoller/King, added to the beautiful arrangement by Artie Butler, make Gettin' To Me an ultimate experience and therefore indispensable to your collection.
By Peter Burns