A vinyl-only 14-track collection of the Cincinnati trio’s best Fraternity recordings.
A brief appearance on Billboard magazine’s Bubbling Under chart belies the fact that the Charmaines were Cincinnati’s leading 1960s girl group. Formed by Marian “Gigi” Jackson, Dee Watkins and Irene Vinegar, the group was awarded a contract with Fraternity Records for winning a talent show in 1960. Gigi’s sister Jerri sang on many of the group’s records but was too young to perform in nightclubs. When Dee left to get married, Jerri joined as a full-time member.
By the time the Charmaines’ contract with Fraternity had run its course, the group had relocated to Canada. “We’d had a successful career at Fraternity and were quite happy there,” says Gigi. “We had a few little hits with ‘What Kind Of Girl (Do You Think I Am)’, ‘On The Wagon’ and ‘G.I. Joe’ and got lots of work, especially in Canada. We were going back and forth to Toronto so much, doing nightclubs and concerts, that in 1963 the Charmaines actually moved up there. When the British groups first became popular over here, we were living in Canada at that time. I remember the Dave Clark Five and the Rolling Stones coming up to Canada. They were at Maple Leaf Gardens, and at about four of those shows we were the opening act.”
The Charmaines called it a day in the early 70s but several of their records remained popular with dancers on the UK’s northern soul scene. That popularity received a boost in the mid-2000s when their great version of Ike & Tina Turner’s ‘I Idolize You’ was made available for the first time, immediately finding favour with DJs and club-goers.
During their career the group had singles on six different labels, but they never did have an album released. We rectify that situation here with this stylishly packaged vinyl-only collection of their finest Fraternity recordings. Along with the above-mentioned titles, highlights include ‘Goodbye Baby Goodbye’, the Shirelles-style ‘Where Is The Boy Tonight’, their rip-roaring version of ‘Rockin’ Pneumonia’ and three terrific examples of their work as backing singers for Fraternity label-mates Lonnie Mack and Carl Edmondson.