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The Paper Dolls - Something Here In My Heart (The Compete Recordings 1968-1970)

The Paper Dolls -  Something Here In My Heart (The Compete Recordings 1968-1970)

Biography by Jason Ankeny

The Paper Dolls -  Something Here In My Heart (The Compete Recordings 1968-1970)

Northampton, England-based girl group the Paper Dolls teamed vocalists Suzi "Tiger" Mathis, Pauline "Spyder" Bennett and Sue "Copper" Marshall. Signing to the Pye label, the group's debut single "Something Here in My Heart (Keeps Telling Me No)" reached the number 11 spot on the UK pop charts in 1968, resulting in the release of the LP Paper Dolls House. Although the trio's ultra-mod image made them ideal for merchandising -- toys, books and the like were all produced -- their chart appeal proved surprisingly slim, and after the singles "My Life (Is in Your Hands)" and "Someday" stiffed, Pye dropped the group. In 1970 the Paper Dolls landed at RCA, where they issued two more singles -- a cover of "My Boyfriend's Back" and "Remember December" -- before dissolving; a decade later, Mathis returned to the UK charts as the vocal coach for the St. Winifred's School Choir, which scored the surprise number one hit "There's No-One Quite Like Grandma."

The Paper Dolls -  Something Here In My Heart (The Compete Recordings 1968-1970)

The Paper Dolls -  Something Here In My Heart (The Compete Recordings 1968-1970)

The Girls Want The Boys! Sweden's Beat Girls: 1964-1970

The Girls Want The Boys! Sweden's Beat Girls: 1964-1970

           The Girls Want The Boys! Sweden's Beat Girls: 1964-1970

Ace's smorgasbord of Swedish she-pop opens with early solo sides by the lead singers of the nation's greatest pop music export, ABBA: Agnetha Faltskog with Ge Dej Till Tals (a highlight of her second album) and Anni-Frid Lyngstad with Sa Synd Du Maste Ga (a song popularised by Françoise Hardy as Comment Te Dire Adieu). Other featured well-known names include national treasure Lill-Babs with her cover of Dusty Springfield's Little By Little and chart star Mona Wessman with a version of Music To Watch Girls By. But it wasn't all cover versions in mid-60s Sweden. Dig, for example, Eleanor Bodel's title track, Don't by cult favourite Doris (who also appears as lead vocalist of the group Plums), au pair duo Bella and Me's groovy Help Me Break This Habit and Britt Bergstrom's Ivy League-penned You Really Have Started Something. Cherry-picked tracks by the Plommons and cover stars MAK Les Soeurs illustrate the country also produced its fair share of all-girl groups

The Girls Want The Boys! Sweden's Beat Girls: 1964-1970

The Girls Want The Boys! Sweden's Beat Girls: 1964-1970
Vinyl LP /UK/2016

A1 Agnetha Faltskog - Ge Dej Till Tals
A2 Anni-Frid Lyngstad - Sa Synd Du Maste Ga
A3 Eleanor Bodel - The Girls Want The Boys
A4 Mak Les Soeurs - Karlek Finns Det Overallt
A5Lena Junoff - Good Kind Of Hurt
A6 Plommons - Last Train To Liverpool
B1 Doris - Don't
B2 Bella & Me - Help Me Break This Habit
B3 Mona Wessman - Vadret
B4 Lill-Babs - Lite For Liten
B5 Britt Bergstrom - You Really Have Started Something
B6 Plums - Benny Law


Pussy Cat & Les Petites Souris ‎– Boof! The Complete Pussy Cat 1966-1969

Pussy Cat was the most tough sounding of France's '60s ye-ye girls. She looked to Britain for her inspirations, not home-grown, upbeat Gallic pop. She covered Small Faces, the Moody Blues, the Hollies and the Zombies. Her original songs - she was a rarity and wrote her own - were energized, hard edged, melodic and stomping. She put a French twist on the Mod era. BOOF! Is the first-ever Pussy Cat - born Evelyne Courtois - collection to be issued outside France. Her complete '60s recordings, including two tracks unheard at the time, are collected. As a special bonus, her debut release, a 1965 EP with the band Les Petites Souris is also collected. They were France's first all-girl band. At age 17, she was their guitarist and wrote their songs. She was a pioneer. Pussy Cat took her name from the Tom Jones song 'What's New Pussycat'. She toured France with him. With extensive liner notes and illustrations, this package is the ultimate tribute to France's one-woman musical dynamo of the 1960s.

Pussy Cat ‎– Boof! The Complete Pussy Cat 1966-1969 (2014)

Although I have a taste for both Euro pop and Sixties pop, Pussycat – born Éveleyne Courtois – has previous escaped my attention, so this new, thorough collection is welcome indeed. The first ever non-French compilation, it’s an impressive collection of cover versions and originals by the yé yé girl who took her influences from British beat music, even as the Beat scene was evolving into something else. A singing guitarist and drummer, Pussy Cat never quite made it as big as she should’ve done in France – and remained unknown everywhere else – but this collection should go some way to giving her the attention she deserved as a musical pioneer.

Recorded between 1966 and 1969, it might be the covers that the casual listener finds most immediately intriguing. French language versions of well known tunes, they are both familiar and unexpected. Album opener Ce N’Est Pas Une Vie, for instance, is The Small Faces’ Sha-La-La-La-Lee, given a gallic, moody makeover. Betty Everett’s You’re No Good is transformed into the sexy, seductive Mais Pourquoi…, while Les Temps Ont Changé is a pop reconstruction of folk tune Have Courage, be Careful. The Moody Blues’ Stop, on the other hand, manages to retain its original name. These four tracks made up the first Pussycat EP in 1966, and are a fine collection of tunes, managing to be very French in feel despite the familiarity of some of the tunes (featuring future Foreigner founder Mick Jones on guitar) and the British Beat influence.

Other covers include a groovy version of Paul Revere and the Raiders’ Kicks (Vive La Mariée) and The Hollies’ So Lonely (Mais La Continiuait), both originally a 1966 single; The Hollies covers continued with the next EP, with poppy versions of Have You Ever Loved Somebody (Si Vous Avaz Déja Aimé) and Bus Stop (Arret D’Autobus), the latter penned by Graham Gouldman who also wrote Herman’s Hermits’ Listen People, here covered as the floaty J’Avais Juré, the first of the tracks on this album to hint at the influence of the 1967 West Coast hippy sound. And finally, there’s a solid version of The Zombies’ She’s Not There (Te Voila), that has more of a bossa nova vibe that the original in parts before building to a belting chorus.

pussycat02Then there are the originals, catchy little numbers like La La Lu and Ba Ba Ba… Boof that are very yé yé in nature but backed with a real rocking vibe, complete with distorted, proto-psych guitar breaks. Je N’Ai Pas Pleuré is a more laid back affair, complete with harpsichord, while Moi Je PréFere Ma Poupée is more gimmicky in nature. By 1968’s single releases, the originals had begun to take precedent, with the fantastic, ambitious and oddly unsettling Dans Ce Monde Fou being light years from her usual Beat sound. Chance is closer to her traditional sound, while On Me Dit is a slower blues number, unfortunately a bit plodding and limp.

1969’s Cette Nuit sounds oddly like a Shangri Las song from earlier in the decade, a solid, impassioned number, while the other original songs from this final EP also feel like they are calling back to the past – On Joune is a middling romantic pop number, but Hymne Au Soleil is a lively slice of beat pop marred only by a rather flat production sound.

The tracks are presented in chronological order, and while it might be a stretch to say that you can see a notable musical progression taking place – her career was too brief and too stop-start to really build any developing and ongoing musical momentum – you do at least see a slight shift from solid beat music to a more psych-pop feel as time passes. Unreleased number Adieu My Baby (And My Baby’s Gone by the Moody Blues) is the funkiest number on here, suggesting a groove-laden pop future that never materialised – the 1970s saw her working as a model before cutting a number of disco tunes under a variety of pseudonyms.

As a bonus here, there are also tracks by Pussy Cat’s former band, Les Petites Souris, France’s first all girl band – a three guitar outfit featuring a bunch of teenage girls – eat your hearts out, Runaways! Their sole EP features a number of light girl-group numbers, ranging from bouncy pop songs (Joue) to angst ridden ballads (Cette Melodie Que L’Orchestre Joue), with On Te Le Dit, Il T’Aime being the closest to the later Pussy Cat sound. The disco numbers are, appropriately, not see as canon and so not included here.

This compilation is a fantastic slice of Sixties French pop, it’s unfamiliarity giving it a remarkable freshness. If you have a taste for beat music, yé yé girls or simply great, timeless pop, it’s a must-have item.

VA - The Girls Are At It Again - UK Beat Girls 1964-1969

VA - The Girls Are At It Again - UK Beat Girls 1964-1969

2009 collection. The Brit girl emerged at the tail end of America's Pop renaissance and on the brink of a British beat boom. Come 1964, Girl Pop was reproduced at a frightening rate; and it is the driven and dedicated girl pop collectors who slaughtered the Brit girl inferiority myth and prompted reissue labels to revisit the vaults for the rare masters; including overlooked artifacts from Tracy Rogers, Claire Francis, Diane Lancaster and others. 

VA - The Girls Are At It Again - UK Beat Girls 1964-1969

The Honeys ‎– The Honeys Collection

The Honeys ‎– The Honeys Collection


California girl group the Honeys was formed in 1961 by siblings Marilyn, Diane, and Barbara Rovell; originally dubbed the Rovell Sisters, the trio cut their teeth on the local amateur talent circuit, and in time Barbara was replaced by their cousin Sandra Glantz, who adopted the stage name Ginger Blake. Through producer Gary Usher, the Rovells were introduced to the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, who agreed to produce the group. Rechristened the Honeys -- a nickname for female surfers -- they reeled off a series of outstanding Capitol singles including "Shoot the Curl," "Pray for Surf," and the Phil Spector homage "The One You Can't Have," none of which made any kind of commercial impact. A move to Warner Bros. preceded 1964's superb "He's a Doll"; on December 7 of that year, Brian Wilson and Marilyn Rovell were also married. Despite their continuing lack of chart success, the Honeys remained sought-after backing vocalists on sessions for the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. During the mid-'60s, the trio also recorded as Ginger & the Snaps, although by the time of their 1969 swan song "Goodnight My Love" the Honeys name had been restored. When Blake left the group to pursue a solo career, Marilyn and Diane worked under the name American Spring, although the Honeys did eventually reunite for a disappointing comeback record, 1983's Ecstasy.

The Honeys ‎– The Honeys Collection

Fans of the Beach Boys will definitely be interested in this collection from the Honeys, a girl group trio including Brian Wilson's wife Marilyn, plus her sister Diane, and their cousin. Signed to Capitol, thanks to Wilson, most of the Honeys sessions were supervised by Wilson himself, occasionally with Capitol's in-house producer Nik Venet. The Honeys Collection brings together 26 tracks covering the group's early- to mid-'60s singles (and several backing vocal dates on records by other artists), plus two tracks from a 1983 comeback LP. The first phase of the Honeys was as a surf group ("honeys" was a term used either for female surfers or the girlfriends of male surfers), and their first single, "Surfin' Down the Swanee River," was produced by Brian Wilson from an idea for a novelty take-off on the folk classic "Swanee River." Fortunately, the group soon moved on from surf novelties to embrace the classic girl group sound of Phil Spector -- a big influence on Wilson professionally -- and the bulk of the Honeys' best material is in this grandiose vein, high-drama songs like "Raindrops," "The One You Can't Have," and "He's a Doll." Besides the value for Beach Boys fans, the solid production muscle behind the trio results in some great examples of '60s girl group pop. The compilers also added several tracks with backing vocals by the Honeys, including the early Glen Campbell gem "Guess I'm Dumb," written and produced by Wilson himself.

Dinah Lee - Dinah Lee - 1964-67

Dinah Lee  - Dinah Lee - 1964-67

In 1962 The Saints split and Phil and Diane put together their own group, The Playboys, bringing in the multi-talented Brian Ringrose, the recently departed lead guitarist from Ray Columbus & The Invaders, plus Graeme Miller, the drummer from local band The Numonics, who had been recommended to them by Pat. Completing the lineup was bassist John O'Neill and rhythm guitarist Mark Graham. Dinah became co-lead singer, alternating sets with Phil Garland. After meeting Jackie Holme, owner of hip boutique in Christchurch, Dinah changed her look. Jackie gave Dinah a page-boy haircut and dressed her in wild op-art designs with white leather boots. She began modelling around this time, and her "mod" wardrobe, makeup and hairstyle soon became her trademark.

Dinah's break as a solo performer came in late 1962, courtesy of Max & The Meteors, who had already left Christchurch for New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland. After an abortive first trip to Sydney in 1963 The Meteors had returned to Auckland, where they were holding down a residency at the popular Top 20 Club. Late in the year the Meteors were offered a national tour, so Max contacted The Playboys and asked them to come up and fill in while the Meteors were away. Apparently, this was a common tactic for resident bands on the cut-throat Auckland scene -- out-of-town groups from places like Christchurch and Wellington were brought in for the duration and then packed off home when the tours finished  more there :

Dinah Lee  - Dinah Lee - 1964-67

VA - Good Girls Gone Bad Wild, Weird And WantedVA - Savage Rockin' Girls (1988)The Paper Dolls -  Something Here In My Heart (The Compete Recordings 1968-1970)The Girls Want The Boys! Sweden's Beat Girls: 1964-1970 Pussy Cat & Les Petites Souris ‎– Boof! The Complete Pussy Cat 1966-1969VA - The Girls Are At It Again - UK Beat Girls 1964-1969The Chips ‎– Break It Gently (1968) 7'The Honeys ‎– The Honeys CollectionVA - Acid Visions - Tripping With The Texas GirlsDinah Lee  - Dinah Lee - 1964-67

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