For a brief time in the late '60s, Gary Puckett had the world at his feet -- well, at least he had a string of Top Ten singles, highlighted by "Woman, Woman," "Young Girl," "Lady Willpower," "Over You" and "This Girl Is a Woman Now." His powerful emoting, along with the melodramatic productions, made these singles hits; his backing band the Union Gap were always billed on the records, but they were kind of drowned out by the strings, backing vocals, horns and other studio trickery. These singles were state-of-the-art mainstream pop in the late '60s, and they remain radio favorites years after their initial release. That's why it seems a little strange that there has never been a definitive greatest-hits collection assembled in the CD age. It's a little less surprising when you dig into his catalog, since the also-ran singles and album tracks are primarily of interest to pop fetishists interested in artifacts of the time. That's why Collectables' Golden Classics Edition doesn't work for the public at large -- record collectors may find it of interest, but the less dedicated only need about five songs, not 27 tracks. And that's why Sony's budget-line Super Hits is a nice addition to Puckett's CD catalog. Like any other Super Hits volume, it's brief, but in this case that's a positive attribute, since that means there's less filler than on other collections. All of the big hits are here -- not just the aforementioned smashes, but also "Don't Give In to Him" -- plus good covers of such standards as "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself." There are no revelations among the songs that weren't hits, but the conciseness of the collection makes this the best way to pick up Puckett's hits on CD.
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