"A rather nice collection" par Blues & Rhythm

Three CDs of “girl groups”, with the first spanning 1931 - 1958. I confess I wasn’t expecting too much of CD1, but some tracks are not without interest: The Andrew Sisters ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’ might only serve to reflect the popularity of boogie-woogie back in the 40s but their cover of ‘Rum And Coca-Cola introduced calypso to a whole new audience. The Dandridge Sisters impressed me with ‘Minnie The Moocher Is Dead’, and some might enjoy The Fontane Sisters with a vocal version of Big Al Sears’ ‘Castle Rock’ and Boyd Bennet’s ‘Seventeen’.

The second CD overlaps with the first, covering the years 1952 to 1961, but the main change is that on the second disc, the artists are mainly African-American, and there is a corresponding change in sound and approach. The earlier CD is largely pop and jazz-based; the first few numbers continue in the sophisticated style of the earlier recordings, but otherwise the very sophisticated group The Chordettes surprise with the R’n’B of the Jesse Stone composition ‘Like A Baby’, Buddy Lucas and his band back up The Enchanters on the bluesy ‘I’ve Lost’, and Shirley Gunter & The Queens underline the shift in musical emphasis, backed by Maxwell Davis in 1954 on the rocking ‘Shoop Oop’. Many might feel that this collection really starts here – but it’s a false start unless you really go for The Beverley Sisters and their ilk. The Hearts bring in female doo-wop with the classic ‘Lonely Nights’, and The Cookies excel on ‘In Paradise’, then morphing into the Raelettes, tackling the hard R’n’B of ‘What Kind Of Man Are You?’ on what is basically a Brother Ray performance without Ray’s vocals. Johnny Otis is represented by The Three Tons Of Joy and the rock and roll of ‘The Light Still Shines In My Window’, with Marie Adams taking the lead. Further artists include The Bobbettes (with the rocking ‘Mr. Lee’, the tough ‘Have Mercy Baby’ and the proto-soul of ‘Are You Satisfied’), The Chantels and even The Staple Singers.

The third CD brings with it the pop- R’n’B sounds of such well-known groups as The Shirelles, The Crystals, The Ronettes. The Chiffons, The Marvelettes and others, familiar from oldies radio these days, setting the stage for the Motown sound of The Supremes (Florence Ballard shines on ‘Buttered Popcorn’) and Martha & The Vandellas and leading on to the harder sound of The Ikettes (‘I’m Blue’ features Tina Turner) and the early Stax sound of The Tonettes and ‘No Tears’, before Patti LaBelle & The Blue Flames close out this rather nice collection with the soulful ‘Go On’.