Ace Records 2009
After an agonising hiatus of over four years, “Where The Girls Are” is back! Volume 7, an eclectic melange of 26 girl-pop treasures (eight previously unreleased), is brimming with all the requisite “shang-a-langs” and “ronde-rondes” delivered with bouffant-bobbing spirit by a veritable constellation of stars, also-rans and never-weres.
Why the Teardrops never became superstars is a 60s mystery, up there with “Who really shot JFK?” and “What sort of parents would name their daughter Sloopy?” The Cincinnati quartet kicks off the proceedings with ‘Tears Come Tumbling’, one of a handful of majestic singles that inexplicably stiffed despite sterling production, shimmering harmonies and heartfelt lead by the late Linda Schroeder Millazo.
If you, like me, fondly recall dancing “the doolang” at parties, then you, like me, are delusional. There was no such dance, but that didn’t prevent Andrea Carroll from releasing this insanely catchy song, backed by the Chiffons (who certainly knew their way around a doolang). Andrea provides instruction, so it’s not too late for this craze to sweep some nation, somewhere.
Uber girl-group the Shirelles render an obscure cover of the Playmates’ 1958 hit ‘What Is Love’ with a frisky lead by Shirley that finds her dissolving in giggles during the fade. DC soul queens the Jewels weigh in with a revved-up remake of their own Dimension B-side, ‘Smokie Joe’s’, this time with James Brown at the helm. Other big names abound as Marry (sic) Clayton and Barbara Mason step up to the mike for the first time, launching successful careers that continue to this day. Fans of session stalwart David Lasley won’t be surprised by his debut as a member of Shangri-Las clones the Utopias.
Erstwhile Blossom Gracia Nitzsche leads the Satisfactions on a counterpoint-laden arrangement of the oft-cut, never issued Mann/Weil classic ‘Woman In Love (With You)’. Chicago’s Lovelites, fondly remembered for their angst-dripping ‘How Can I Tell My Mom And Dad’, are heard two years before that anthem for knocked up, abandoned teens, making their studio bow with ‘I Found Me A Lover’. (And how’d that work out for you, girls?)
Brenda Holloway fans (and who isn’t?) will thrill to a heretofore-unheard pre-Motown channelling of Mary Wells, and the Brill Building/Red Bird sound sparkles anew in another never-released Jelly Beans gem. Also new to our ears is an alternate take of Claudine Clark’s mega-hit ‘Party Lights’, on which she double-tracks herself. Obviously, one Claudine was sufficient, thank you, but it’s a kick to hear her duplicate that eccentric vocal. And if it’s quirkiness you seek, the Jaynetts never disappoint.
To call Baby Jane and the Rockabyes quirky would be wildly euphemistic. These fair ladies pull out the stopper and kick up a whopper on a mind-roasting, hear-it-to-believe-it assault on the Broadway chestnut ‘Get Me To The Church On Time’, replete with an ear-splitting lead that must have caused no small discomfort to that doggie in the window from their previous hit. This track closes the set. What could follow it?
You’re likely unfamiliar with the Penny Sisters, Azaleas, Fashionettes, Zippers, Sparkels and Tandels, but you’ll find they share with all the classic girl groups the same frenetic, thundering, hip-shaking energy that rocked the 60s. I defy you to sit still while listening to this CD. Don’t fight it. Get up and do the doolang!
BY DENNIS GARVEY