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CD Review: Various Artists

Phil Spector Presents the Philles Album Collection (Phil Spector/Legacy)

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Before he wigged out, Phil Spector was the mastermind behind some of the greatest pop singles ever made. You'll find many of them on this seven-disc set, along with lots of other cuts — 87 in all — by his stable of singers. The box includes the first six albums released by Spector's Philles Records, plus an extra CD of throwaway instrumental B-sides. The Crystals (with and without Darlene Love) are the stars of three of the albums and show up on a 1963 compilation, but best is the Ronettes' 1964 debut, which includes the timeless "Be My Baby," "Walking in the Rain," and "Baby, I Love You." There's some filler here (most of Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans' first album is forgettable), but the hits — "He's a Rebel," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "He's Sure the Boy I Love" — are the foundations of Spector's sturdy Wall of Sound. — Michael Gallucci

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