Ace Records have served girl-group fans well over the years. So my colleague Malcolm Baumgart and I were thrilled to be asked to compile the first volume of the new Where The Girls Are
series. As the smash hits of the girl-group era are mercilessly recycled by other companies we opted to cast our net over a wide area - much to the trauma of the licensing department at the Ace HQ. So, no Shangri-Las here. Instead you'll find, from the fag-end of the catchment era, the leather-booted Goodees with the onomatopoeically produced Condition Red
. Those tough New York dolls Reparata and the Delrons follow with a knock-out track from the dusty vaults of their manager Steve Jerome. And Don't Drop Out
by the teenage Dolly Parton, sounding like a Red Bird session that never was, takes over soon after. Rather than give one of Little Eva's hits another airing we opted for her younger sister Idalia Boyd's Hula Hoppin'
- a paean to the stars of Cameo/Parkway. If dance craze princesses are your bag, perhaps the Sherrys make the grade. And hey, my 14 year old niece tells me that Sometimes I Wonder
by Barbara Brown is perfect to do the gravy to. That's the mash potato with knobs on - go see Hairspray
! Avoiding the Crystals didn't bother us because we were free to include Noreen Corcoran's Love Kitten
and Doris Day's Oo-Wee Baby
(if Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil didn't write this as a follow-up to He's Sure The Boy I Love
, I'll eat my copy of Blame It On The Bossa Nova
!). Wall Of Sound fans should also appreciate the Victorians' Oh What A Night For Love
, Carolyn Carter's high-fat Philly I'm Thru
and John Madara and David White's great Live And Learn
by that culty blonde bombshell Joey Heatherton.
To illustrate that we're not full-time fun bunnies, a few more serious titles made the cut. Were the Geminis a deep soul act or a gang of girlies? Hmm that's a tough one. And dig the big-boned sound of the Kolettes - that backing-track sounds like the Soul Sisters falling down the stairs at Mirasound! Malcolm and I (many assume we are joined at the hip, but we are not joined, just hip!) are both small-print fiends - we admire the songwriters and producers as much as the actual artists. So do pay attention to the label copy. Ray Stevens, Bert Berns, Carole King and the rest deserve your appreciation. In addition, we've finished this package with a few under-used Hot 100 entries: such as the Charmettes' Please Don't Kiss Me Again (actually a previously unissued version thereof), Baby Jane and the Rockabyes How Much Is That Doggie In The Window (which musta made Patti Page gag!), Mixed-Up, Shook-Up Girl by Patty and the Emblems, and Hey There Lonely Boy by Ruby and the Romantics. So there you have it, a collection that is not only great fun to play but is also a fascinating and absorbing piece of music history encapsulated.