* The Big Beat International label returns with a bang and another celebration of the wonderful world of Japanese 60s pop. After the acclaimed "GS I Love You" volumes, it's the girls turn, as Big Beat examine the distaff side of the country's remarkable GS pop scene with "Nippon Girls".
* The likes of Shonen Knife and The 5-6-7-8s have given more face to women in Japanese pop, but they draw on a tradition that stretches back to the wild 1960s "Group Sounds" era, when the Land Of the Rising Sun was smitten with westernised rock'n'roll, yet came to develop its own distinctive brand of the same. Like in the west, female artistes tended to be solo, though their accompaniment often came from some of the top GS acts like the Bunnies. Major female stars of the period represented here include Miki Obata, Linda Yamamoto and Mie Nakao, the latter with the fuzztoned classic `Sharock No 1'.
* The sound was eclectic, drawing upon not only the full smorgasbord of 60s styles like groovy go-go, lounge-y bossa nova and wobbly pop-psych, but also traditional Japanese songwriting and themes. There's dance floor fillers such as `Ye-Ye' and the usual fascinating interpretations of western material, such as Nana Kanomi's take on the Zombies' `I Love You'.
* "Nippon Girls" is annotated by noted girl group expert and latter-day Japanese pop champion Sheila Burgel of Cha Cha Charming magazine, who provides a fascinating overview of this tremendous and compelling tributary of 60s pop. Highly recommended to girl group fanciers, GS groovers and any one else with a keen ear for eclectic 60s pop.