While the song selection on this second volume is not as strong as volume one, this UK Ace release still makes a fine companion to Rhino's Best of the Girl Groups series. Factor in that this single-disc compilation has 28 songs (only two of which appear on the Rhino series) and this is a real bargain.
Like volume one, there are a few Fifties selections: the McGuire Sisters No. 1 smash "Sugartime" (1958), the No. 4 hit "Tonight You Belong to Me" (1956) by Patience and Prudence, the Bonnie Sisters 1956 version of "Cry Baby" (not the 1963 cover version by Garnett Mimms), and Peggy Lee's sultry reading of the Little Willie John classic, "Fever," from 1958.
Lee, who sang with Benny Goodman in the Forties, on the surface seems something of an odd choice, but hers is the definitive version of this song. Dinah Washington, who sang with Lionel Hampton in the Forties, also makes an appearance with "September in the Rain" from 1961.
Volume two also features more obscure artists like Babs Tino ("Forgive Me"), Terry and The Tunisians ("The Street"), Barbie Gaye ("My Boy Lollipop"--not the Millie Small hit version), the Hearts ("Lonely Nights"), the Pearlettes ("Duchess of Ear"), the Blossoms ("Move On"), and April Stevens without her brother Nino Tempo ("Teach Me Tiger").
There are also hits that rarely get anthologized like "The Boy Next Door" (No. 18) by the Secrets, "What's a Matter Baby (Is It Hurting You) (No. 12) by Timi Yuro, "I'll Save the Last Dance for You" (No. 22) by Daminta Jo, and "I Just don't Understand" (No. 17) by movie starlet Ann-Margret.
Then there are the big hits like Ruby & the Romantics' No. 1 "Our Day Will Come," The Pips' first Top Ten from 1961 "Every Beat of My Heart," Marcie Blane's "Bobby's Girl," and the Sensations' "Let Me In."
If you love the girl group sound of the late-Fifties and early-Sixties, you can't go wrong with this second installment. And as one of England's premier re-issue labels, Ace provides excellent sound and informative liner notes on each of the songs and the artists. RECOMMENDED