Thursday, 18 July 2019

The Girls' Scene


  

Of the truly excellent nine album “…Scene” series from Decca/Deram, this is probably the least impressive. The songs are all mid-sixties offerings from either girl groups or solo girl singers. Many of them are imitations of The Ronettes, The Crystals or other US girl group’s in the “My Boyfriend’s Back” style. Otherwise they are typical mid-sixties girl-pop ballads about being in love. All of this is ok, but they are as I said they were - imitations - and most of them don’t quite match the admittedly impeccable standard of those other groups/artists. Not that they are bad records at all, but none of them were hits and when you are talking about pop, it is hits that determines the  kudos of the song, in many ways. The “Freakbeat” or “Psychedelic” songs on some of the other compilations in the series get away with being “hidden gems” because of the eclectic nature of their genres, whereas pop is different. Not too many failed pop records are classics. Having said that, Northern Soul came up with a fair few. It was full of them, so what am I talking about.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, there are probably not too many unearthed diamonds on offer here. Although I have to admit that there are a few intruguing ones all the same. (Make up your mind, man!)

TRACK LISTING

1. Oo Chang-A-Lang - The Orchids
2. Jenny Let Him Go - Antoinette
3. Only You Can Do It - The Vernons Girls
4. Two Lovers - Louise Cordet
5. The Boy From Chelsea - Truly Smith
6. You Just Gotta Know My Mind - Dana Gillspie
7. Hey Boy - Barry St. John
8. When Love Is True - Susan Hampshire
9. Save The Last Dance For Me - Jean Martin
10. When The love Light Starts Shining Thru His Eyes - Dusty Springfield
11. My Friend Bobby - Pamela Blue
12. Sugar Baby - Jackie Frisco
13. I'll Give It Five - Janice Nicholls
14. What A Guy - Bobby Miller
15. Give Me Rhythm And Blues - The Mysteries
16. Till You Say You'll Be Mine - Olivia Newton-John
17. Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind - Vashti
18. Is This What I Get For Loving You? - Marianne Faithfull
19. Nobody's Home To Go Home To - Billie Davis
20. Rain On My Face - Shapes And Sizes
21. You - Lorraine Child
22. And The Trouble With Me Is You - Linda Flavell
23. Shang A Do Lang - Adrienne Poster
24. Try To Understand - Lulu
25. Soldier Boy - Exceptions                                   

“Oo Chang-A-Lang”  by The Orchids is a very “Da Doo Ron Ron” influenced typical sixties girlgroup upbeat poppy rocker. “Jenny Let Him Go” by Antoinette and The Vernons Girls’ “Only You Can Do It” both have hints of some of The Beatles’ early songs. Louise Cordet’s “Two Lovers” is an early example of increasing female independence, as she revels in having two lovers dangling on her string.

Truly Smith’s “The Boy From Chelsea” is just so “swinging sixties” that it could almost be a parody, about a cute and groovy boy who works in a Chelsea coffee shop. Yeah, baby, yeah. Dana Gillispie’s riffy “You Just Gotta Know My Mind” is excellent, featuring a lovely, vibrant bass line and powerful vocal.

Jean Martin’s cover of “Save The Last Dance For Me” is actually a realy good cover, but a fair amount of that is down to the fact that it is a great song. Jackie Frisco’s “Sugar Baby” is a quirky, little rock’n’roll song. The fairground rock feel is continued on Janice Nicholls’ mildly amusing “I’ll Give It Five”.

There are some “names” on here, though - Dusty Springfield covers The Supremes’ “When The Love Light Starts Shining Thru His Eyes” impressively, as you would expect. Olivia Newton-John’s first single is present too in the vibrant Motown-esque pop of “Till You Say You’ll Be Mine”. Marianne Faithfull gives us “Is This What I Get For Loving You?”, which was actually recorded by The Ronettes and written by Phil Spector, Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Lulu contributes the soulful “Try To Understand”.

Actress Susan Hampshire even got in on the act with the syrupy but appealing “When Love Is True”. Adrienne Posta (credited here by her real surname of Poster) was a minor celebrity in various comedy shows in the seventies, as I recall. Her song here is the girl-groupy “Shang A Doo Lang”.
The pleasant “Nobody’s Home To Go Home To” by Billie Davis has a sumptuous bassline, I must say. The sound on this album, as on all of them, is very good. Check out the crystal clear percussion on “Rain On My Face” by Shapes And Sizes. Excellent.

Overall, there are certainly points of interest on this album and it passes an hour very enjoyably, but it doesn’t justify as many revisits as others in the series.

C+

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