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Love Hit Me! Decca Beat Girls 1963-1970, LP (£21.70)
British girl-pop gems from Decca Records’ matchless 1960s roster.
For British girl-pop, 1960s Decca is a goldmine. The label had its A&R hounds sniffing into every nook and cranny of the British Isles, signing up Midlands schoolgirls (the Orchids), London folk club denizens (Dana Gillespie, Beverley), former child actresses (Adrienne Poster, Sandra Barry), Liverpudlian girl groups (the Vernons Girls, the Satin Bells), soulful northerners (Elkie Brooks, Truly Smith) and Scots (Lulu, Barry St John), well-connected Chelsea girls (Louise Cordet, Twinkle, Marianne Faithfull), Merseybeat wannabes (Beryl Marsden), talent show winners (Billie Davis, Babbity Blue, Jean Martin) and even transient Americans (Goldie & the Gingerbreads) – all featured in this gorgeously packaged collection.
Decca’s female roster was largely placed in the skilled hands of producers, arrangers and writers such as Mike Leander, Andrew Loog Oldham, Shel Talmy, Charles Blackwell and Tony Meehan, who sourced a steady supply of homemade and American soul, folk-rock, beat and pop. The company’s productions carried a sense of excitement, urgency and frequently an audible adoration for US soul and pop sounds. Visiting US producer Shel Talmy, for example, was headhunted by Dick Rowe, Decca’s head of A&R, precisely because of his studio experience with American surf and R&B acts. “Dick was one of the few people in England who was pro-American, not averse to giving young guys some kind of chance to do something,” said Talmy in Stoned, Andrew Loog Oldham’s autobiography.
“Love Hit Me!” is available in 24-track CD and 12-track vinyl album formats. The CD version is packaged with a 20-page booklet featuring many rare colour photos and notes incorporating interviews with Billie Davis, Dana Gillespie, Georgina Oliver of the Orchids and Truly Smith, while the LP comes with a lavishly illustrated inner bag and is pressed on 180g sunshine yellow vinyl. Each format features an entirely different set of illustrations. Beat girl fans, take your pick.