I worked on my first Ace release way back in 1984. Ace had signed a licensing deal with MCA, from whose repertoire Ady Croasdell had assembled some groovy compilation albums for Kent, Ace’s soul label. Would I be interested in helping him put together a collection of girl group sides from the MCA catalogue? It seemed like an engrossing project, so yes. We put our heads together, selected 16 great tracks and enlisted my pal Keith Beach, a graphic designer, to come up with a front cover. We called the album “Where The Girls Are”. Looking at the track list of my rather dog-eared copy, if I say so myself, the record stands up pretty well today, and contains titles by Bernadette Peters, Robin Ward, Dorothy Berry, the Crampton Sisters, Orlons, Bon Bons and Barbara Chandler that have yet to be issued on CD. I’d propose a repress, but those tracks aren’t so easy to license these days, alas.
Come the 1990s, the CD era had arrived and I was putting compilations together for Ace on a semi-regular freelance basis. Their “Golden Age Of American Rock’n’Roll” series was proving very popular. Would I like to work on a girl group series? Naturally, and I’ll get fellow girl group specialist Malcolm Baumgart to assist. We called the series “Where The Girls Are”, what else? Most of the big hits of the 1960s girl group era – by the Shirelles, Chiffons, Angels, Shangri-Las, Crystals, Ronettes, Dixie Cups, Jelly Beans etc – were already available elsewhere, so we opted to target the series at collectors, using previously unissued material here and there, rather than be ruled by the charts. Nearly 30 years after the original “Where The Girls Are” LP was released, the CD series stands at eight volumes, with at least a couple more in the pipeline. Who’d have though it?
By Mick Patrick
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