Kim is most famously remembered as a performer for his 1969 remake of the Phil Spector classic "Baby, I Love You" (contained here), and his own 1974 #1 "Rock Me." But before finding chart-topping success as a singer, he was a key player in the bubblegum pop world of the...
Kim is most famously remembered as a performer for his 1969 remake of the Phil Spector classic "Baby, I Love You" (contained here), and his own 1974 #1 "Rock Me." But before finding chart-topping success as a singer, he was a key player in the bubblegum pop world of the late ''60s. His co-writes with Brill Building legend Jeff Barry include the genre''s national anthem, "Sugar, Sugar" and additional Archies classics "Everything''s Alright," "Feelin'' So Good" and "Jingle Jangle." He and Barry also penned songs for the Monkees 1970 swansong, "Changes," including the favorite, "Oh My My."
His first pair of solo albums (anthologized on a companion CD) found him co-writing with Barry, creating a catalog of ultra-melodic, hook-filled bubblegum, rock, soul and light psych. This two-fer collects Kim''s third and fourth albums, the former waxed for Barry''s Steed label, and the latter released by Uni. In addition to the change of labels in the four years between the two albums, Kim recorded the latter release without the songwriting and production collaboration of Barry, turning more sober with his singer-songwriter material.
1969''s "Baby, I Love You" was the last full LP collaboration between Kim and Barry. Surprisingly, the song writing duo turned to five covers (compared to only one on Kim''s previous two albums), including a soulful take on Tim Hardin''s "If I Were a Carpenter," and less inspiring readings of the ballads "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "This Guy''s in Love With You." Much better are the originals, including the moody psych "Walkin'' My La de Da," the bubblegum-soul "Let''s Get Married," the gospel inflected "I''ll Be Loving You," the sunshine "So Good Together," and a multitude of hook-filled pop songs.
1973''s "Andy Kim" (which shouldn''t be confused with the like-titled album of the following year on Capitol) is a more serious turn. Opening with a dramatically intoned prologue, Kim refashions himself as a singer-songwriter, with the sort of introspection in then-recent fashion for Jim Croce and Cat Stevens. Writing solo and in collaboration with Dene Hofheinz, Kim fashions more adult and socially conscious lyrics, questioning the existence of God ("Who has the Answers?"), nostalgically reappraising youth ("The Fancies of a Child"), and wistfully contemplating time''s passing ("Shady Hollow Dreamer"). Kim sings in a lower register than on his earlier recordings, adding a touch of soul for "Sunshine" and middle Eastern percussion to "All in the Name of Steinem," and evoking the portentous delivery and arrangements of Neil Diamond.
Collectors'' Choice has included all 21 tracks of the original albums, clocking in at a generous 69 minutes. New liner notes from Richie Unterberger accompany full-panel reproductions of both album covers, and the back cover of "Andy Kim." Though neither of these releases is as solid as Kim''s first pair, "Baby, I Love You" still scores some similar pop-hit thrills. Kim''s an engaging singer, and a talented songwriter, and though "Andy Kim" largely forsakes the effervescent style of his earlier works, it''s an interesting cap to this run of four albums. [©2006 hyperbolium dot com]