Soul collectors in particular and musicologists in general will be delighted with a new 4CD, 120 track box set from archive specialist Fantastic Voyage.

‘AMERICAN MUSIC LIBRARY… THE HITS OF 1962’ is a remarkable compilation…. it features 120 songs that were hits in the States in that year – but , for all kinds of reasons, meant nothing at all this side of the Atlantic. The compilers have dug up every US top ten hit, every no. 1 on the R&B and Country charts and a smattering of other charts riders – none of which had any impact in the UK…. indeed many of them were never even released over here!

Given the year – 1962- expect plenty of soul, especially from the burgeoning Motown and Stax labels. So, here enjoy again stuff like The Supremes’ ‘You Belong To Me’, The Contours’ ‘Do You Love Me’, William Bell’s ‘You Don’t Miss Your Water’ and Booker T’s ‘Green Onions’. Plenty more soul from people like Ray Charles, Ben E King, the Drifters, Brook Benton, Dee Clark, Barbara Lynn, Dee Dee Sharp, the Orlons and Sam Cooke – can you believe his mighty ‘Having A Party’ was never a UK hit?

There’s plenty of great pop too…. iconic tracks from pop legends like the Everly Brothers, Dion, Brenda Lee, Connie Francis, the Beach Boys and someone called Elvis Presley. You get a smattering of Bacharach songs too… the Shirelles’ ‘Baby Its You’ (covered by the Beatles, of course) along with ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance’ and ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’ –both recorded by Gene Pitney.

The collection is a fabulous snapshot of a seminal year in pop history (remember ‘Love Me Do’ was out that year) and it offers all kinds of memory-jerking moments.. even the then-fashionable novelty songs (‘Ahab The Arab’ anyone?) sound good – fuelling a feast of proper nostalgia!

AMERICAN MUSIC LIBRARY – THE HITS OF 1962 is out now o Fantastic Voyage Records.