Ace Records' Songwriter Series
In the age of streaming, you don't get the fine print – the labor and legacy behind the stars, summed up in the credits for producers, engineers, songwriters and session musicians that often made for the most interesting reading on album covers and labels. For the last few years, Ace, the British reissue specialists, have been issuing dynamite, thematic various-artist compilations tied to a particular name or team just beyond the limelight. Earlier collections, some in multiple volumes, have been devoted to songwriters (Goffin-King, Laura Nyro, the pre-solo-album Randy Newman), producer-arrangers (Bert Berns, Ragavoy), and classic-soul treatments of the Bob Dylan and Beatles songbooks. Three of the best in 2017 – packed with hits, classics and obscurities; sequenced like knock-out mixtapes – covered an even longer waterfront of great voices and cross-licensing nirvana: Gotta Get Up! The Songs of Harry Nilsson 1965–1972 (the Monkees, the Shangri-Las, the Yardbirds); To Love Somebody, The Songs of the Bee Gees 1966–1970 (heavy on the R&B twist with Al Green, Nina Simone and the Staple Singers); and Making Time: A Shel Talmy Production, highlighting that American producer's killer Sixties streak in British studios with the Who, the Kinks, the folk group Pentangle and a young Davy Jones, soon to change his surname to Bowie.