Darlene Love is one of the legendary singers from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. She began as a choir singer in Hawthorne, California but quickly became a part of Phil Spector’s legendary Wall Of Sound. She also backed dozens of artists such as Sam Cooke, The Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, and many more.
It was her first group, The Blossoms, who brought her to the attention of legendary producer Phil Spector. He used them as a backing group but also as The Crystals upon occasion. The original Crystals group were in New York and he resided in California so it was easier to to use The Blossoms under The Crystals name. It leaves the history of this important and early girls group muddled but we know for sure that Darlene Love provided the lead vocals for such hits as “He’s A Rebel” and “He’s Sure The Boy I’m Gonna Marry.”
According to legend she had recorded the lead to the classic “Da Doo Ron Ron” but Spector erased it when she asked for a raise. She would also be a member of another Spector group, Bob-B-Soxx & The Blues Jeans, who would have a hit with “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” She retired for a spell after severing her relationship with Spector but for the last thirty years has been recording solo albums, performing on Broadway, touring, and working as an actress. Her most memorable roles were as Danny Glover’s wife in the four Lethal Weapon movies.
She has now released the first live album of her career and it is a welcome addition to hr legacy. The Concert Of Love is quite a production as she is backed by a full band, four background singers, an orchestra of strings, brass, and a small choir. They all combine to help her do justice to her music.
While the fourteen tracks include some gospel and Broadway, she wisely concentrates on the material that made her famous as she presents a generous number of tracks from her Wall Of Sound days.
She brings to life such classics as “Wait Til My Bobby Gets Home,“ “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Today I Met The Girl I’m Gonna Merry,” “He’s A Rebel,” “River Deep, Mountain High,” and her famous holiday song “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
Her voice is still a fine instrument and when supported as it is here, it can become spectacular at times.
Darlene Love is on of the legendary figures of early sixties rock ‘n’ roll and its nice to find her in fine form. I don’t know how many albums she has left in her but if this one is any indication, let’s hope its quite a few.
Article first published as on Blogcritics.org