Artist: Ben E. King
Label: Real Gone Music
Format: 2-CD set
Release date: August 7, 2015
One of the most beloved soul singers of all time, Ben E. King will always be remembered for his top charting hits: “There Goes My Baby,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “Spanish Harlem” and, of course, the unforgettable “Stand by Me.” But there are many other sides to the singer that should be explored. Thanks to Real Gone Music, in collaboration with David Nathan’s SoulMusic Records, we have an opportunity to purchase this 2-CD compilation that includes the A and B-side of every single King released for the Atco and Atlantic labels between 1960-1966 (a second volume is forthcoming and will cover subsequent years). Covering 50 tracks, all in their original mono single versions, the set includes many B-sides not previously released domestically on CD. The recordings were remastered from original tape sources by Mike Milchner at SonicVision, and the package includes a booklet with liner notes by British soul music expert DJ Clive Richardson, and a session discography by Peter Burns. If you only know a handful of songs by Ben E. King, you owe it to yourself to check this out.
Reviewed by Brenda Nelson-Strauss