As 1968 drew to a close the golden age of girl groups had seemingly been and gone. The Shangri-Las, the Ronettes and the Chiffons hadn’t had a sniff of a hit record since 1966. Then along came the ominous ‘Condition Red’, a cleverly-produced psychodrama enacted by the Goodees, a trio of foxy teenagers from the roster of Stax Records’ small rock-oriented Hip offshoot. The group comprised childhood pals Sandra Jackson, Judy Williams and Kay Evans, all residents of the Sherwood Forest neighbourhood of East Memphis, Tennessee.
The group’s previous single, ‘For A Little While’, penned and produced by Stax’s top songwriting duo Isaac Hayes and David Porter, was one of the last sessions to feature the original Bar-Kays, who perished alongside Otis Redding in that fateful plane crash in December 1967.
Production duties then shifted to the Detroit-based team of Don Davis and Freddie Briggs, the brains behind ‘Condition Red’, which brilliantly re-cast the group as ladies in waiting to the Shangri-Las. The success of the single led to the release of the girls’ “Candy Coated..Goodees” LP, a mix of original material with covers of familiar numbers. To hear the lyrics of the Swingin’ Medallions’ ‘Double Shot’ sung by girls must have raised a few eyebrows at the time.
The Goodees’ third 45, ‘Jilted’, was another intriguing and complex number, but was there a market for a four-minute opus about a knocked-up teen dumped at the altar? That there wasn’t soon became apparent and this rich slab of Southern Gothic sank without trace. Their final single ‘Goodies’, written and produced by giants of Southern soul Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, went the same way, just as the girls hung up their rock’n’roll shoes.
This collection contains every known recording the Goodees made, 18 of which are making their CD debut. In addition to the complete “Candy Coated..Goodees” album are four sides drawn from non-LP singles and seven previously unissued titles. ‘Show Me How’, ‘Last Of The Good Guys’, ‘Have You Ever Hurt The One You Love’ and the alternate version of ‘Didn’t Know Love Was So Good’ all emanate from the trio’s early Memphis sessions with Hayes and Porter. Produced by Penn and Oldham, ‘Angry Eyes’ and ‘Love Me Love’ were cut in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The final track ‘Love Pill’, to the best of Sandra’s memory, was recorded as a demo at American Studios in Memphis. The set comes with a booklet featuring notes based on an exclusive interview with Sandra, illustrated with a host of rare memorabilia and gorgeous photographs from her collection.
By Mick Patrick