This impressive collection of recordings by female singers, laid down between 1955 and 1963, is the second of three volumes. Few of the ladies featured here had a lot of hits, but Peggy Lee (Fever) and Dinah Washington (September in the rain) were very prolific. The set begins with My boy lollipop, which was a huge hit for Millie in the sixties, but the unsuccessful Barbie Gaye version included here was recorded in 1956. Tell him was a number four American hit for the Exciters, while a cover by Billie Davis was a top ten British hit. There are two American number ones here, these being Our day will come (Ruby and the romantics) and Sugartime (McGuire sisters) - they also charted in Britain, where the McGuire sisters had to compete with a cover by Alma Cogan. Both ended up in the top twenty. Bobby’s girl was a number three American hit for Marcie Blane, while Susan Maughan covered the song and had a British number three hit. In the eighties, Tracey Ullman, better known as a comedienne, covered the song. Lesley Gore is represented by the feminist anthem You don’t own me, which was an American number two but missed the British charts although it was covered by Dusty Springfield. I’ll save the last dance for you is an answer song to Save the last dance for me. Among the less known gems, you get to hear Teach me tiger by April Stevens, who had an American number one when she sang Deep purple with her brother, Nino Tempo. Gladys Knight and the pips are represented by two songs, one of them only credited to The pips. Both were American top twenty hits, with Every beat of my hear reaching number six. There are many other great songs, mostly sung by long-forgotten one-hit wonders. Anybody interested in female singers of the era and looking for less obvious material should check this out.
If you are reading this, you probably are aware that there are three current volumes in the series. And a fourth is planned. Logically, you may have bought the first and are working your way through. The first provides a great introduction to the Girl Sound. But a lot of the tracks are reasonably well known. Volumes II and III venture into lesser known territories. But do not worry! If you liked Volume I, you will love Volumes II and III (in fact I think III is better). Thank you ACE Records. Another great value compilation (28 tracks). The balance on this CD is more diverse: There are some Rockers, some Do-Wop, some ballads, some kitsch, some Spector copies, and some great pop from a very different era. I have been collecting records for years, and I can tell you, finding gems like "Cry Baby", "A Thousand Stars" and "Teach Me Tiger" (yup, that was the song on the cat food ad) border on the impossible. Why did I think that Millie was the Queen of Bluebeat? Listen to Barbie Gaye's version of "My Boy Lollipop" from 1956 and hear "original" Ska! I didn't know it even existed! This CD, like Volume I, does feature some "classic" pop: "Tell Him" by the Exciters (no, Hello did not do the original!) "Bobbie's Girl" (Marcie Blane's version) and "You don't Own Me" (there is much more to Leslie Gore than "It's My Party").If you love the Spector sound several tracks will impress: "The Boy Next Door", "The Street" and "The Kind Of Boy You Can't Forget". The Divas are represented: "Fever" by Peggy Lee, "September In The Rain" by Dinah Washington and "What's a Matter Baby" by Timi Yuro. Oh, and you must hear "I Met Him On A Sunday" - one of my most sought after tracks by the Shirelles. Being more critical, the compilation spans many genres of the "early girls". Perhaps, too many? But even if one genre is not to your liking, other will make up. Again, hand-on-heart, of the 28 tracks, 11 for me are brilliant. A further 7 I already owned. Well, 18 out of 28 ain't bad! But personally, Volume III scores the full 5 stars!