required listening

CD Review

VARIOUS ARTISTS  -  She’s A Doll! : Warner Bros’ Feminine Side

Ace (UK) CDTOP 1532

THREE DEGREES-Contact/COOKIES-Wounded/VICKIE BARNES-We Can Find That Love/BARBARA JACKSON-He’s Good/TEEN TURBANS-We Need To Be Loved/DELILAH KENNEBRUEW-Bright Lights/RAMONA KING-Chico’s Girl/ROYALETTES-There He Goes/DOLLS-The Reason Why/SOCIALITES-Jive Jimmy/BONNIE-My Love Keeps Growin’/CONNIE STEVENS-There Goes Your Guy/JOANIE SOMMERS-Big Man/HONEYS-He’s A Doll/CATHY CARROLL-But You Lied/SUGAR N’ SPICE-Playboy/CINDERS-C’mon Wobble/BRENDA HALL-Oh Eddy My Baby/BARBARA ENGLISH-All Because I Love Somebody/GLORIA SCOTT & the TONETTES-I Taught Him (pt.1)/APOLLAS-My Soul Concerto/JOYCE ALEXANDER-Here I Come/MARY LEE WHITNEY-Don’t Come A’Knockin’/LORRAINE ELLISON-In My Tomorrow

Although this set concentrates entirely on product from Warner Bros and its subsidiary Loma label, ‘She’s A Doll’ is pretty much a further volume in Ace’s excellent ‘Where The Girls Are’ series.  Perhaps more for lovers of that ‘girl group sound’ than soul purists, there should nevertheless be sufficient delights among the two-dozen tracks to keep the later sated - and, taken overall, maybe even broaden a few horizons.  For this scribe, personally, a couple of all-time favourites add icing to the cake in the sweet delectability of the Apollas’ lilting ‘My Soul Concerto’ and the storming ‘Bright Lights’ from the marvellously-named Delilah Kennebruew, who compiler/annotator, Mick Patrick, reminds us is not to be confused with Dee Dee of the Crystals but may well have been a member of OKeh group, the Triumphs.  Barbara [Jean] English’s ‘All Because I Love Somebody’ - with a melody ‘stolen’ from the fourth movement of Beethoven’s ninth symphony, better known nowadays as ‘Ode To Joy’ - appeared on Warner Bros in 1965, while a year earlier the rockin’ ‘I Taught Him (pt.1)’ saw an early appearance for Gloria Scott, supported by the Tonettes, including Sly Stone and sister, Rose and, one year earlier still, Joyce Alexander delivered her uptown-sounding, one-off release, ‘Here I Come’.  The set is topped and tailed by the biggest ‘names‘ on offer, the Three Degrees‘ ‘Contact‘ - sort of ‘outer space pop‘ - dating from 1968 as does the ballad, Loma label closer from the marvellous Lorraine Ellison, ‘In My Tomorrow’.  Just one track emerges here for the first time, viz Ramona King’s perky 1965 recording, ‘Chico’s Girl’, unearthed and remixed by Alec Palao - a most worthy inclusion - and who can equally resist the Royalettes’ version of ‘There He Goes’, a Mickey Stevenson song originally cut by the Velvelettes, or the sterling ballad, ‘Don’t Come A’Knockin’’ from Mary Lee Whitney who, despite being a prolific background artist (and latterly a member of Stevie Wonder’s Wonderlove) delivered this 1966 Loma recording as her only release in her own right?  In closing, given the title of the cd, mention must go to the dolls... first, the Dolls themselves and the stomping ‘The Reason Why‘ - the flip to their highly popular ‘And That Reminds Me‘ - and the ‘He’s A Doll‘ (near) title track, by the Honeys, penned and produced by Brian Wilson and, needless to say’, having Beach Boys (/Girls) written all over it.

review posted 28/11/18