As longtime collectors know, great "nuggets" show up in the most unlikely places...and so do Nuggets, naturally. Warner Music Japan has just issued four volumes of Soft Rock Nuggets, but most of the tracks on these collections are firmly in the harmony-drenched, lushly melodic, sunshine pop genre. Any fans of Rhino Handmade's Come to the Sunshine: Soft Pop Nuggets from the WEA Vaults (reissued on vinyl this year for Record Store Day) will find much to savor on these latest additions to the Nuggets library - and sweetening the deal, Warner has broadened its scope by licensing tracks from various labels outside of the WEA family. This new, four-volume series follows Warner Japan's past collections of Pop Rock Nuggets, Surfin' and Hot Rod Nuggets, and Girl Group Nuggets.
Volume One, Silver and Sunshine, sets forth its mission statement via Harpers Bizarre's "Come to the Sunshine" and also includes big hits from The Association ("Along Comes Mary"), The Buckinghams ("Susan"), The Rascals ("A Beautiful Morning"), and Tommy James and the Shondells ("Crystal Blue Persuasion"). The title track, "Silver and Sunshine (How Wonderful is Our Love)" is a lesser-known treat from songwriters The Addrisi Brothers as released on the Valiant label in 1966. The Addrisis are also represented by The Anita Kerr Singers' lighter-than-air "Happiness." RCA's The Sidekicks revive The Hollies' "Fifi the Flea" in a Jimmy Wisner-produced version, and "Wiz" Wisner himself is also arranger of The Tradewinds' pop-psych "Mind Excursion" and The Coronados' "Don't Start Something You Can't Finish." Roger Nichols and Paul Williams' sweet yet acidic "To Put Up with You" is heard not once, but twice (in versions by Williams' early band The Holy Mackerel as well as by The Sandpipers) and their buoyant "Let's Ride" is performed by Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends; Nichols and Smokey Roberds' infectious "Just What I've Been Looking For" is sung by The Vogues. Glen Campbell's masterwork by Brian Wilson and Russ Titelman, "Guess I'm Dumb," adds further flavor.
Volume Two takes its title of It's a Happening World from the Mann and Weil song recorded by The Tokens (both Mann and Weil and The Tokens are also featured on Volume One). Other artists reappearing from the first volume include The Association ("Windy"), Dino, Desi and Billy (the shimmering "Tell Someone You Love Them"), The Vogues ("I've Got You on My Mind"), Tommy James and the Shondells ("(Baby) Baby I Can't Take It No More"), Harpers Bizarre (Paul Simon's "59th Street Bridge Song" and Bacharach and David's sweet if politically incorrect "Me Japanese Boy, I Love You"), The Addrisi Brothers (their own recording of "Time to Love," and The Tradewinds ("I Believe in Her"). Joining the Nuggets roster are Don and the Goodtimes with Jack Nitzsche's ebullient soft-pop triumph "I Could Be So Good to You," The Cyrkle with "Turn Down Day," and Sagittarius (the psychedelic epic "My World Fell Down") via Gary Usher, Curt Boettcher, Bruce Johnston, and Glen Campbell. Many luminaries pop up in the credits: Boettcher produced Lee Mallory's "Many are the Times," and Leon Russell arranged onetime teen idol James Darren's 1966 "All." Jimmy Seals wrote and Richard Perry produced Uncle Sound's funky "Beverly Hills" (1968). Claus Ogerman and Scott English wrote, and Ogerman produced, The Gates of Eden's haunting "No One Was There" (1967).
The Association's Birthday Morning gives the third volume its title; the group also contributes "Come On In." Hits are here - Jay and the Techniques' "Apple, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie," The Young Rascals' "Lonely Too Long," Spiral Starecase's "More Today Than Yesterday" - as well as cult favorites (Paul Williams' timeless "Someday Man," The Mojo Men's recording of Stephen Stills' "Sit Down, I Think I Love You," The Holy Mackerel's "Bitter Honey" from Williams and Nichols, and Dino, Desi, and Billy's Brian Wilson co-write "Lady Love" - and more near-lost classics from Lee Mallory (the Addrisis' inviting "Take My Hand"), Robert John, The Congregation, The Sunshine Company, The Anita Kerr Singers, and Salt Water Taffy. Jimmy Webb makes an appearance via The Vogues' "I Keep It Hid," and Gary Geld and Peter Udell with Ruby and the Romantics' "Hurting Each Other," later a smash for the Carpenters. (Geld and Udell penned The Congregation's bubbly "It's a Natural Thing" on Disc Two.)
Soft Rock Nuggets goes international on Volume Four, Listen to Me (named for The Hollies' song). It looks to the U.K. (with detours to Sweden and Australia) for its 24 groovy selections. Tony Hatch ("the British Bacharach") and Jackie Trent were certainly among the U.K.'s greatest proponents of pure pop in the 1960s, and they're here with The Sands of Time's "Love Found a Way to My Heart" plus The Montanas' catchy "You've Got to Be Loved," Jackie's own, urgent "7:10 to Suburbia," and The Two of Each's swingin' ode to "Trinity Street." Tony Macaulay's C.V. is equally impressive, as evidenced by Jefferson's perennial "Baby, Take Me in Your Arms," The Marmalade's "Baby, Make It Soon," The Flying Machine's wistful hit "Smile a Little Smile for Me," and The Foundations' immortal "Build Me Up, Buttercup." The collection also detours to Sweden for vocal group The Gals and Pals' urgent version of Bacharach and David's "My Little Red Book," and to Australia via the U.S. for The Allen Brothers' - a.k.a. future superstar Peter Allen and his "brother" Chris Allen - "A Baby's Coming," from their still-inexplicably-not-on-CD Mercury debut album. Other rarities on this disc include The Gibsons' "She's Not Like Any Girl" (and The Rockin' Berries' take on the same song!), Margo and the Marvettes' "When Love Slips Away," Danny Street's "Every Day" (produced by Dusty's brother Tom Springfield), Gulliver's People's "On a Day Like This" (produced by Norman "Hurricane" Smith), and The Harmony Grass' bright "Move in a Little Closer, Baby."
These four volumes of Soft Rock Nuggets add up to a box set of classic sunshine pop, with plentiful hits and a smattering of lost treasures. Each disc comes with a thick booklet containing credits and lyrics in English; alas, the track-by-track liner notes are in Japanese only. You can order all four titles below!
Various Artists, Silver and Sunshine: Soft Rock Nuggets Vol. 1 (Warner Music Japan WPCR-17621, 2017) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- I'm Gonna Marry You - The Goldebriars (*)
- Guess I'm Dumb - Glen Campbell (*)
- Along Comes Mary - The Association (*)
- Mind Excursion - The Tradewinds
- Silver and Sunshine (How Wonderful is Our Love) - The Looking Glass (*)
- Fifi the Flea - The Sidekicks
- Once Again - The Poor (*)
- Black and White Rainbow - The Visions (*)
- Portrait of My Love - The Tokens
- Come to the Sunshine - Harpers Bizarre
- Kitty Doyle - Dino, Desi and Billy
- Susan - The Buckinghams
- Just What I've Been Looking For - The Vogues
- A Beautiful Morning - The Rascals
- Randy - The Happenings
- Let's Ride - Roger Nichols and the Small Circle of Friends
- Happiness - Anita Kerr and the Anita Kerr Singers
- Candy Apple, Cotton Candy - Pat Shannon (*)
- To Put Up with You - The Sandpipers
- Good Morning, New Day - The Coronados
- She Is Today - The Vogues
- To Put Up with You - The Holy Mackerel
- Crystal Blue Persuasion - Tommy James and the Shondells
- Don't Start Something You Can't Finish - The Coronados (*)
Stereo except (*) mono
Various Artists, It's a Happening World: Soft Rock Nuggets Vol. 2 (Warner Music Japan WPCR-17622, 2017) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- Don't Run Away - Bruce and Terry (*)
- Turn Down Day - The Cyrkle
- Many are the Times - Lee Mallory
- All - James Darren
- I Believe in Her - The Tradewinds
- The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) - Harpers Bizarre
- I Could Be So Good to You - Don and the Goodtimes
- Windy - The Association
- My World Fell Down - Sagittarius (*)
- Love-In - The Morning Glories (*)
- Happy - The Blades of Grass
- (Baby) Baby I Can't Take It No More - Tommy James and the Shondells
- If You Know What I Mean - The Gas Company (*)
- Don't Let the Rain Fall Down on Me - The Critters (*)
- It's a Happening World - The Tokens
- No One Was There - The Gates of Eden (*)
- Hung Up on Love - The Other Voices (*)
- I've Got You on My Mind - The Vogues (*)
- Beverly Hills - Uncle Sound (*)
- Tell Someone You Love Them - Dino, Desi and Billy
- It's a Natural Thing - The Congregation
- Me, Japanese Boy (I Love You) - Harpers Bizarre
- Will You Be Staying After Sunday - The Peppermint Rainbow
- Time to Love - The Addrisi Brothers (*)
Stereo except (*) mono
Various Artists, Birthday Morning: Soft Rock Nuggets Vol. 3 (Warner Music Japan WPCR-17623, 2017) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- Ain't Gonna Lie - Keith
- Sit Down I Think I Love You - The Mojo Men (*)
- Lonely Too Long - The Young Rascals
- Take My Hand - Lee Mallory (*)
- Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie - Jay and the Techniques
- I Like the Way - Tommy James and the Shondells
- When the Summer is Through - The Happenings (*)
- If You Don't Want My Love - Robert John
- It's Sunday - The Sunshine Company
- All This (He Does to Me) - The Anita Kerr Singers (*)
- Birthday Morning - The Association
- Come On In - The Association
- Finders Keepers - Salt Water Taffy
- Small Talk - Harpers Bizarre (*)
- I Keep It Hid - The Vogues
- Bitter Honey - The Holy Mackerel
- There is Nothing More to Say - The Millennium
- More Today Than Yesterday - Spiral Starecase
- Morning Girl - The Neon Philharmonic
- Hurting Each Other - Ruby and the Romantics (*)
- Sun Shines on My Street - The Congregation (*)
- Mad - Harpers Bizarre
- Someday Man - Paul Williams
- Lady Love - Dino, Desi and Billy
Stereo except (*) mono
Various Artists, Listen to Me: Soft Rock Nuggets Vol. 4 (Warner Music Japan WPCR-17264, 2017) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- That's Why I'm Crying - The Ivy League
- Sandy - The Swinging Blue Jeans
- My Little Red Book - The Gals and Pals
- No Milk Today - Herman's Hermits
- Silence is Golden - The Tremeloes
- Love Found a Way to My Heart - The Sands of Time
- Sunshine Boy - Vicky (*)
- You've Got to Be Loved - The Montanas
- She's Not Like Any Girl - The Rockin' Berries
- She's Not Like Any Girl - The Gibsons
- When Love Slips Away - Margo and the Marvettes
- Everlasting Love - The Love Affair (*)
- Every Day - Danny Street
- On a Day Like This - Gulliver's People (*)
- A Baby's Coming - Chris and Peter Allen (*)
- Listen to Me - The Hollies (*)
- Build Me Up, Buttercup - The Foundations
- 7:10 From Suburbia - Jackie Trent
- The Other Side of Love - The Caravelles
- Move In a Little Closer Baby - Harmony Grass (*)
- Smile a Little Smile for Me - The Flying Machine
- Baby Make It Soon - The Marmalade (*)
- Trinity Street - Two of Each
- Baby, Take Me in Your Arms - Jefferson (*)
Mono except (*) stereo
This would normally be an automatic buy for me, but at around £26 a disc, I have to pass. I dearly hope this is not the way of the future.
This would be an automatic buy for me if I could buy them as MP3 with a pdf of the liner notes.
I will not pay the bloated price for these cds and I would buy these - and a whole lot of other items that I see here - if they did parallel releases as mp3.
Why don't you buy the CD, then you can make your own mp3's. Plus you'd have the booklet 🙂 Best wishes
Just buy them direct from CD Japan ....... £11 each plus postage.
Robert Lett says
I'm glad you posted this, I had seen it a while back somewhere but forgot. Getting all these, they look interesting.
Mark B. Hanson says
Got them when they were first issued and love them!
Rob Maurer says
I'm just heartened to see the Japanese are still attached to and voracious about the Compact Disc. I wish I was into the music...I'd gladly spend $30 on a well done CD, but not one red cent for vinyl.
I agree Rob. They can stuff MP3's and downloads. I never have and never will download music. I want something tangible that I can own and upload myself and then have for my library just in case something happened to my files. As for vinyl, I prefer vintage rather than the over priced new releases.
Jim H says
bought these from an eBay seller in Japan a month or so ago, maybe $16.99 or so, not great, but ok......don't get excited for any booklets tho, as most of the info is in Japanese of course, and the inside back tray has a nice collage of 45's at least!!!!!!!!!!
Paul Urbahns says
This is an excellent series of well known and not well known songs mixed together for a delightful listening experience.
It's unfortunate that Warners USA is not mining it's back catalog the way the Japanese branch does.
Robert Lett says
Been a while but there are several other offshoot series now. Warner Girl Group Nuggets (7 volumes so far), Warner Pop Rock Nuggets (7 also), Three Doo Wop Nuggets. They are all great.