THE RONETTES - The Ronettes featuring Veronica (Colpix Album) (Bear Family) LP "Boom. Boom-boom. BAM! Boom. Boom-boom. BAM!" The very molecular structure of the uni-verse changed the minute Hal Blaine struck that beat inside Gold Star Studio's hallowed echo chamber, and the rest of the Wrecking Crew joined in, on three or four pianos/ guitars/organs/glockenspiels/casta-nets/anything, all swirling within that converted meat locker and the magical properties of the metal plate suspended within.
Phil Spector was behind Larry Levine at the board, practically conducting this fabulous teen symphony like Stokowski with a bad wig and a ruffled shirt. Then Veronica Bennett stepped to the mic, opened her throat, and broke a mil-lion hearts: "So, won't you say you love me? / I'll make you so proud of me / We'll make them turn their heads, every place we go...." Within the first few seconds of a needle dropping onto every copy of "Be My Baby" sold, the Ronettes, the future Ronnie Spector's golden throat, and Phil Spector with them, were enshrined in history. They could have disappeared immedi-ately after, never having made "Baby I Love You," "Walking In the Rain," or any of the other awesome follow-ups. Because you can't follow-up a record this monumental, this other-worldly. Perfection just is. You can't top it... "Be My Baby" is not on The Ronettes featuring Veronica.
None of the recordings mentioned are (al-though they are on the classic, simi-larly titled LP released on Philles, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes... featuring Vernonica—confused yet?). Prior to Spector stumbling across them, they'd been discovered at the Peppermint Lounge, singing Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" before Joey Dee & the Starlighters. And were signed to Colpix, the label which would later be the Monkees' home. All their failed singles were then gathered on this 1965 quickie LP, meant to cash in on the Ronettes' Philles Records success. Judging by the rather undistinguished work contained herein, neither the label nor producer Stu Phillips knew what to do with them. It took Spector to understand the magic inherent in Ronnie's voice, and to custom craft material to display it to full-effect, giving her, sister Estelle and cousin Needra Talley the showcase they needed. Again, none of that magic is here. Strictly for completists. (Tim Stegall)