Birthday Haul #1: Girl Group Sounds Box
This is coming a month late, but starting here I’m sharing my impressions from a year of unexpectly large birthday giftage. The parents answered my number one wish by gifting something that I’d been saving up all year to get: Rhino’s mammoth One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found box set. Soon after I opened it, Christopher chided me by saying “That is such a gay gift to ask for.” Indeed, gay it is: 120 songs spread out on four compact-shaped discs with a diary-shaped book, housed in a fruity hatbox-shaped container. Yeah, and so what? One listen will tell you the ladies collected here truly rocked every bit as much as the guys.
As for the individual tracks, the compilers have taken an expanded definition of “Girl Group Sounds” which encompasses gritty R&B, Soul, Garage Rock and several solo female performers. Although some were mid-level hits back in the ’60s, most didn’t chart at all which results in a set full of neat goodies (and one track by The Goodees, the Southern White Trash Shangri-Las). I had already owned about a third of these songs and was familiar with much of the rest due to diligent listening to the Spectropop’s Girl Pop online radio station, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of them. In fact, listening to this reminded me how much I appreciate a nicely picked and thoughtfully sequenced compilation — a rarity in this download-and-go era. It made even the most familiar tunes sound fresh. There are too many highlights to mention, although I was glad that they included several tracks by the amazing Cookies and their various aliases (including The Cinderellas’ “Please Don’t Wake Me” and “Baby Baby (I Still Love You)”, likely the most astonishingly great double-sided single ever pressed). Liner notes by Sheila Burgel of Cha Cha Charming are so fine, doo lang doo lang doo lang. Now I’m hoping Rhino puts together a similar package for the male artists who recorded in that style.