- Audio CD (5 Mar. 2012)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Real Gone Music
- ASIN: B006QHH2CK
- Other Editions: Audio CD
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 205,269 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
The Red Bird Girls
|Price:||£21.51 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Delivery Details|
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From Real Gone Music comes a discovery that has the collector community buzzing, and especially those collectors in search of previously unheard stereo20 tracks discovered deep in the vaults of the Red Bird label, every one of which makes its true stereo debut right here! Founded in 1964 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and run by George Goldner, Red Bird is considered to this day as the girl group label of the '60s, and this collectionproduced by long-time archivist and engineer Ron Furmanek together with Ash Wells and annotated by James Monizfeatures the biggest stars on the label roster, and sources its first-time stereo mixes straight from the original master tapes.
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The Jelly Beans are represented by the B-side The Kind Of Boy You Can't Forget, originally a Raindrops hit, and an alternative, earlier version of their own Top Ten hit I Wanna Love Him So Bad that has a lead vocal by Alma Brewer instead of Elyse Herbert. Both of these were written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry who provide no less than seven of the songs represented here, including two by Ellie Greenwich herself: her classic single You Don't Know, which really benefits from the stereo soundscape, and a demo of Another Boy Like Mine which was later a single for the Raindrops (Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry). When Ellie Greenwich first met Neil Diamond as an aspiring young songwriter he sang her a song of his own called Call Me His which impressed her sufficiently that she made a recording of the song herself. Never before released, her version closes the disc.
More Ad-Libs stereo mixes are promised, according to the liner notes, but two are previewed on this release. I'm Just A Down Home Girl is an answer record to Alvin Robinson's Down Home Girl and The Boy From New York City is an early, unreleased version (when they were still the Cheerios) of their US Top Ten hit.
Both sides of the second Butterflys single for Red Bird are included, I Wonder/Gee Baby Gee. I Wonder had been written by Greenwich/Barry with Phil Spector for the Crystals in 1964 on his Philles label. Phil Spector had lost interest in the Crystals by this time and the song was only released in the UK, on a single coupled with Little Boy, but he did record another version of the song for the Ronettes, arranged by Jack Nitzsche, and that appeared on their only album in December 1964. The Butterflys single had come out in November 1964 and so was the first version to be heard by the US public, but sadly stalled at no. 117. The Butterflys actually included two former members of the Crystals, Mary Thomas and Myrna Girard, and additionally featured Ellie Greenwich on back-up vocals.
One of the highlights of the disc is Bessie Banks' original version of Go Now, relased in January 1964 on Leiber and Stoller's Tiger label. It did not chart except in the R&B charts but the Moody Blues version featuring Denny Laine's vocal, released in November 1964 in the UK and in January 1965 in the US, was huge and led to the re-release of the Bessie Banks version, unfortunately still to little effect. Produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the stereo mix really brings out her vocal performance and that of the impassioned Sweet Inspirations led by Dee Dee Warwick.
It's a similar story for Evie Sands whose original, great versions of Take Me For A Little While and I Can't Let Go were not commercially successful but later became hits for Vanilla Fudge and the Hollies respectively, whilst Evie Sands' have gradually increased in stature over many years.
All in all, this is a captivating reminder of the girl group period, just before the British Invasion, in better sound than one could have got at the time. Because these tracks have been mixed from the original multi-track tapes many have been allowed to run on for longer than the original released mono versions, so every last second of a take is preserved. Additionally, there is an further twenty-one minutes of studio backchat and aborted takes after the disc is supposed to have concluded, offering an insight into the construction of these three minute masters.
This CD is stuffed with surprises. These tracks have all been remixed from the original session tapes into stereo by Ron Furmanek. As well as delivering classic tracks in clear stereo, Ron has gifted us with plenty of extended versions. The disc includes one Ellie Greenwich track which has never appeared anywhere before, as well as the Jelly Beans' biggest hit with an alternate lead vocal and a different take on the Ad-Libs The Boy From New York City.
Most of these tracks will be familiar to girl group fans but none of them have sounded quite like this before. There are Spector-ish tracks, Motown-ish tracks and Brill Building-ish tracks amongst them. There are an extra eleven tracks on this CD - session tapes with studio chatter - which will delight music fans. It's fascinating hearing the songs being built.
Liner notes are by James Moniz with input from a bunch of talented people from Red Bird.
Some of the most popular girl group songs, like Chapel Of Love and Baby Be Mine and Iko Iko are not here. The Shangri-Las are totally absent, which means there is more room for the other ladies. Real Gone Music says there is more to come from the vaults by the AdLibs and the Jelly Beans, so expect these missing tracks to make an appearance further down the line.
Real Gone Music has already released some fantastic CDs from the Cameo Parkway labels and singers of the calibre of Bill Medley and B J Thomas, so keep an eye on this company.
I thought we'd heard everything from Red Bird on earlier compilations, but this one is so special. An essential purchase, methinks.
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