Oh boy, do we love girls! We also love songs about girls. And this set contains 28 such songs dedicated to, as Willie and Julio sang, all the girls we’ve loved before.
There is something for every taste across the spectrum here, from the doo wop of the Valentines’ Lily Maebelle and the 3 Friends’ Blanche, both big favourites on Alan Freed’s 50s New York radio programme, to the rocking Eddie Cochran, who loved his Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie so much he named her three times.
If you’re a lover of Tin Pan Alley pop, here’s Johnny Mathis, crooning to Gina. The boys of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, in the show’s great early Philly years, are represented. Frankie Avalon, with Dede Dinah, and Fabian, with Lily Lou, backed by the Four Dates.
Eddie Holland sings his paleo-Motown hit, Jamie, from before he became one-third of the most successful songwriting team of the 60s. Or, if Southern soul is your thing, the legendary Arthur Alexander gives us his song that the Beatles covered, Anna (Go To Him).
We also have three country rockers who made their names in Southern California, guitar god Jerry Cole does his original version of Midnight Mary, Dallas Frazier sings his own tune, Elvira, long before it topped the country charts by the Oak Ridge Boys, and a pre-Phoenix Glen Campbell offers Brenda.
Several of the masters of rock’n’roll stop by. Fats Domino, with Margie, Larry Williams with his Marie Marie and Chuck Berry, with his girl Nadine.
Those California girls were big faves of the surf crowd. Jan & Dean pledge their love to Linda, and the Beach Boys, with Dean Torrence on lead, cover Barbara Ann, originated by the Bronx group the Regents.
For those who like their songs obscure, how about Isabella, by Roy Tann, or this Del Shannon LP cut of Marie’s The Name Of His Latest Flame, the Pomus-Shuman rocker made into a classic by Elvis? Or Gene Pitney’s unissued version of his song that Ricky Nelson made famous, Hello Mary Lou?
Never on CD before, and from the movie of the same name, comes Kathy-O by the Diamonds. A favourite New York vocal group was the Passions, who sing that all-time doo wop masterpiece, Gloria.
You want more obscurities? You got ‘em: Jo-Ann by those Long Islanders, the Twin-Tones and Cindy, Oh Cindy, by folk act Vince Martin with the Tarriers.
Atlantic Records was known for their great artists, and here are three of that label’s greatest. Joe Turner, with Corrine, Corrina, Bobby Darin, singing Plain Jane and the Genius, Ray Charles, doing My Bonnie.
That’s a lot of girls, a bevy of beauties, a plethora of pulchritude. And we love ‘em all.
By Billy Vera
Please note this CD includes rare stereo versions of many tracks, most notably 'Anna' by Arthur Alexander. The other stereo tracks are: 1,2,5,6,16,17,19,24,27 and 28. 'Claudette' by Roy Orbison is an originally unreleased Sun recording.