Red Bird Girls: Very First Time In True Stereo

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aec.rlgm6400427.2 2/5/16 New
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Review

Review Text Redbird Records and its subsidiary label Blue Cat enjoyed some of the greatest successes of the girl group era. Redbird artists like the Dixie-Cups, the Jelly Beans, and the Shangri-La's created some of the most beaming examples of the melodramatic story lines, soaring harmonies, and ear-candy pop hooks that would define the girl group sound in its golden age of the early '60s. Recently unearthed master tapes from this time have resulted in The Red Bird Girls: Very First Time in True Stereo 1964-1966, a collection of 20 remastered and remixed versions of tunes that originally made their mark in the form of mono 45s. This distinction might not mean a lot to folks who aren't ravenous girl group fans, but it actually does make a dramatic difference, especially given the mono-leaning practices of the era and the artists involved. For enormously popular hitmakers like Phil Spector, outliers like Joe Meek, and a plethora of obscure wannabes and soundalikes, big production and massive orchestration were key factors in the girl group sound. Spector perhaps achieved the most acclaim with his Wall of Sound productions; mono recordings of dozens of musicians filling up arrangements with just enough electricity to saturate the song with energy, and hopefully not so much that the vocalists were drowned out. While still relatively full arrangements, Redbird sides sounded sparse by comparison, with muted rhythm sections and distant horns or guitars backing up brightly recorded vocal groups. Hearing these tracks in stereo adds definition to vocal and musical arrangements alike, bringing out sounds and even entire parts that were buried beneath the rushed mono presentations of the mid-'60s. Along with hits like Bessie Banks' showstopping weeper "Go Now" (which predated the Moody Blues' hit version of the same song by a few years) and the Butterflys' "Gee Baby Gee," three previously unreleased tracks also get the stereo treatment. Along with a never-issued song by Ellie Greenwich, alternate takes of the Ad-Libs' huge hit "The Boy from New York City," and a more sedate reading of the Jelly Beans' "I Wanna Love Him So Bad" shed a light on the slapdash process of the Brill Building-era songwriting and recording. More than these unheard songs, an atmosphere of friendship and exciting times is revealed on ten unlisted tracks of studio banter, cross-talk and the musicians and producers casually working out harmonies or joking with each other when a singer flubs a high note. While not essential to the compilation, these tracks are telling of the spontaneous and seemingly happy environment that gave birth to some game-changing sounds. The notable absence of the Shangri La's and only one (albeit incredible) tune by the Dixie-Cups detracts some from the collection, but even lacking some of its brightest stars, the roster is all quality. Hearing these songs again for the first time gets right back to the heart of the girl group days, a time that would change everything that came after it. ~ Fred Thomas

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Dum Dum Ditty - 3:49
  2. 2. Kind of Boy You Can't Forget - 3:33
  3. 3. Boy From New York City - 3:20
  4. 4. Go Now - 3:43
  5. 5. You Don't Know - 4:42
  6. 6. I Can't Let Go - 2:29
  7. 7. He's So Easy to Love - 3:59
  8. 8. I Know He Loves Me - 2:10
  9. 9. No True Love - 3:51
  10. 10. I'm Just a Down-Home Girl - 3:30
  11. 11. I Wonder - 4:41
  12. 12. I Wanna Love Him So Bad - 3:53
  13. 13. Another Boy Like Mine - 3:43
  14. 14. Take Me for a Little While - 2:27
  15. 15. Welcome to My Heart - 3:32
  16. 16. Hideaway - 3:15
  17. 17. Sugar Boy - 2:18
  18. 18. Gee Baby Gee - 3:48
  19. 19. How Fine Can One Guy Be - 3:34
  20. 20. Call Me His [Prev. Unreleased] - 3:24
  21. 21. Gee baby Gee (Studio) - 2:37
  22. 22. I Wonder (Studio) - 3:49
  23. 23. He's So Easy to Love (Studio) - 2:45
  24. 24. How Fine Can One Guy Be (Studio) - 2:42
  25. 25. I Can't Let Go (Studio) - 4:30
  26. 26. I'm Just a Down home Girl (Studio) - 2:20
  27. 27. Another Boy Like Mine (Studio) - 1:37
  28. 28. You Don't Know (Studio) - 2:10
  29. 29. (Studio) - 2:18
  30. 30. Hideaway (Studio) - 1:11
  31. 31. Welcome to My Heart (Studio) - 3:55

Product Details

Release Date
2/5/16 

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