Album: Jack Nitzsche

Hearing Is Believing: The Jack Nitzsche story 1963-79, ACE
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The Independent Culture

Nitzsche was one of the backroom geniuses of pop, his contributions as arranger and pianist helping to define the golden age, his grandiose confections of big piano chords, tubular bells, sweeping strings, massive drums and harpsichords a natural fit for melodramatic balladeers such as PJ Proby and The Walker Brothers. He's best known as Phil Spector's arranger, but he also played piano on nearly all the Stones' Sixties hits, and helped to launch singer-songwriters such as Neil Young, Tim Buckley and Buffy Sainte-Marie and new-wavers such as Mink DeVille and Graham Parker, before settling into the role of film composer, starting with Performance. This 26-track album avoids the Young, Spector and Stones material in favour of lesser-known but equally stylish creations such as Stevie Wonder's "Castles in the Sand" (complete with wave noises), Buckley's "It Happens Every Time", Buffy's version of Young's "Helpless", Doris Day's "Move Over Darling", Judy Henske's baroque-folk oddity "Road to Nowhere

Nitzsche was one of the backroom geniuses of pop, his contributions as arranger and pianist helping to define the golden age, his grandiose confections of big piano chords, tubular bells, sweeping strings, massive drums and harpsichords a natural fit for melodramatic balladeers such as PJ Proby and The Walker Brothers. He's best known as Phil Spector's arranger, but he also played piano on nearly all the Stones' Sixties hits, and helped to launch singer-songwriters such as Neil Young, Tim Buckley and Buffy Sainte-Marie and new-wavers such as Mink DeVille and Graham Parker, before settling into the role of film composer, starting with Performance. This 26-track album avoids the Young, Spector and Stones material in favour of lesser-known but equally stylish creations such as Stevie Wonder's "Castles in the Sand" (complete with wave noises), Buckley's "It Happens Every Time", Buffy's version of Young's "Helpless", Doris Day's "Move Over Darling", Judy Henske's baroque-folk oddity "Road to Nowhere" and Jackie DeShannon's original "Needles and Pins". This last is especially illustrative of Nitzsche's innovative attitude to sound, featuring a "ghost" drum track alongside the main drum track, retained from a poorly erased earlier take. An outstanding account of an extraordinary talent.

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