There are many girl group collections on the market, most of which re-cycle the same familiar hits. Ace compilations offer much more for the collector, and this one is a case in point. “Kiss ‘N’ Tell’, compiled in 1992 by girl group expert Mick Patrick, features a fabulous selection of well-known names, but with lesser-known tracks from their catalogues.
We kick off with a trio of songs from the wonderful Shirelles, recorded at their height but not issued at the time. It is hard to believe ‘You’re Under Arrest’ was not thought good enough to release, but we can love it to pieces now instead. Both sides of the Donays’ single come next, followed by Claudine Clark, Dean & Jean and two from Earline & her Girlfriends, an obscure group from the Old Town label. Earline and her colleagues sound sassy and streetwise on ‘Casanova’ and sweet as sugar on ‘Because Of You’. Maxine Brown’s ‘Little Girl Lost’ is a really great dancer, as are the better-known ‘Peaches ‘N’ Cream’ and ‘Fine, Fine, Fine’ from the Ikettes. After these we get two tracks apiece from Candy & the Kisses and the Toys, proving the strength in depth of the girl group sound, especially as it morphed from pure pop into pop soul. Lorraine & the Delights’ ‘I Just Couldn’t Say’ begins in restrained mood before becoming a full-on Ronettes soundalike. Les Girls’ Motown-esque dancer ‘Stop, Look And Listen’ comes next, then the oh-so-cute title track from Julie & the Desires, showing there’s a place for the glockenspiel on girl group records. Annette (Funicello) gets a look in with ‘Better Be Ready’, one of her strongest recordings. Pure pop harmonising characterises ‘Leave Us Alone’ from the Del-Rons, while Bernadette Carroll sings the suggestive ballad ‘Don’t Hurt Me’ and the upbeat ‘Nicky’, written by Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi of the Four Seasons. The Martin Sisters invade Shangri-Las territory with ‘Only Seventeen’ and Linda Laurie’s ‘Stay At Home Sue’ is a well-constructed answer disc to Dion’s ‘Runaround Sue’. The Gypsies, another Old Town group, contribute ‘Hey There, Hey There’, which pre-dates their 1965 hit ‘Jerk It’. After Nella Dodds’ delightfully sultry ‘You Don’t Love Me Anymore’, an early Kenny Gamble song, the comp closes with three little-heard cuts from the Chiffons: covers of Dion & the Belmonts’ ‘I Wonder Why’ and the Shirelles’ ‘Foolish Little Girl’, plus a later 60s go at bubblegum with ‘Three Dips Of Ice Cream’.
All in all, this is a collection no girl group fan should ignore.