KEEP A HOLD ON HIM! MORE GARPAX GIRLS.

KEEP A HOLD ON HIM! MORE GARPAX GIRLS.

Nowadays, record companies don’t waste time releasing the sequel to a successful compilation. Often, only six months to a year passes, before volume two is released in a blaze of publicity. However, that wasn’t the case with Boy Trouble: Garpax Girls, which Ace Records released back in May 2004.

When Boy Trouble: Garpax Girls was released in May of 200, it was to critical acclaim. It was a twenty-six track celebration of some of Gary S. Paxton’s finest productions for various female singers. This included Beverly Williams, Diana Dawn, Doris Webb, Mary Saxton, Sandie Shore and The Rev-Lons. These tracks were released in the mid-sixties, and included some of Gary S. Paxton’s finest productions. 

By the mid-sixties, Gary S. Paxton had established a reputation as one of the top producers. He was at the top of his game, and had the uncanny ability to transform an artist’s reputation and fortunes. However, there much more to Gary S. Paxton’s career than the twenty-six tracks on Boy Trouble: Garpax Girls. So critics and record buyers awaited a sequel.

It proved to be a long wait. Eleven years passed before Ace Records announced the release of Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls. At last, the sequel to Boy Trouble: Garpax Girls hit the shops at the end of May 2015. That was almost eleven years to the day since Ace Records released Boy Trouble: Garpax Girls. However, would Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls prove to be worth the wait?

Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls features twenty-four of Gary S. Paxton’s productions. They were recorded between 1960 and 1966. Thirteen were released as a single. This included singles from The Idols, Beatrice Lee, Josephine Sunday, Chris Darlin and Dorothy Berry and The Swans. Then there’s eleven previously unreleased tracks. This includes five alternate mixes and two demos. These unreleased tracks feature several hidden gems. No wonder. There’s contributions from Linda Mackey, Mary Saxton, Beatrice Lee and Beverly Williams. With so much quality music to choose from, picking the highlights of Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls won’t be easy. However, here goes. 

The Idols open Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls with Just A Little Bit More. It’s the first of two tracks they contribute. Their first contribution is Just A Little Bit More, a Richard Berry composition. Richard and Gary. S Paxton produced Just A Little Bit More. It was originally released as a single on Reveille in 1961 and credited to the Idols. Later, Just A Little Bit More was leased to the Dot label. They realised the potential of the Idols trademark harmonies. Their second contribution is Why Must I Cry. This is another track Richard Berry penned and then produced with Gary. On Why Must I Cry, The Idols drop the tempo and deliver a heart wrenching ballad.

Canadian singer Mary Saxton features three times on Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls. She arrived at Gary S. Paxton’s Hollywood studios in the summer of 1966. That’s when Mary recorded enough material for several singles and an album. This includes Losing Control, which was the B-Side to her 1966 debut single, Is It Better To Live Or Die. It was released on Canadian label Pace Records and features a vocal powerhouse from Mary. 

Two years later, and Mary released A Tear on another Canadian label, Quality. It had been recorded at the same sessions as Losing Control. A wistful and heartbroken Mary delivers Gary S. Paxton’s lyrics like she’s lived and survived them. The following year, 1969, Mary’s debut album was released. It consisted of tracks recorded in the summer of 1966. Mary’s debut album was released on the Birchmount label in 1969. 

Even then, there were tracks from the 1966 session that hadn’t been released. This includes It’s A Lonely World. It’s a a real find. Mary combines controlled power and emotion on this Mary McAullay composition.

Texan Beatrice Lee was only fourteen when she signed to Kent in 1962. Right through until 1962, Kent was Beatrice’s musical home. Three of the songs she recorded for Kent feature on Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls. The first is Keep A Hold On Him, which Beatrice released as a single in 1962. Despite her youth, Beatrice delivers a raw, distinctive powerhouse. 

The same year, Beatrice cover The Classicals’ recent hit, Help Me. It was produced by George Motola, for Gary S. Paxton. With his help, Beatrice reigns in her power, and in the process, delivers one of her most soulful offerings.

Operator Operator was penned by future O’Jay William Powell. It was recorded by Beatrice, but never released…until now. It’s something of a hidden gem, where Beatrice showcases her impressive vocal range, and in doing so, displays her potential.

Most people won’t have heard of Doris Webb. That’s unless they bought Boy Trouble: Garpax Girls, back in May 2004. Doris featured on that illustrious compilation. She makes a welcome return on Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls with Just A Little Bit More. Her contribution is her 1962 single I Was The Lonely One. Accompanied by The Rockets and strings arranged by Jimmie Haskell, Doris delivers a needy, hurt-filled vocal.

Originally, The Fashionettes started life as The Fashions, fusing surf and R&B. However, Gary decided to reinvent the Fashions. So, The Fashions became The Fashionettes. Gary S. Paxton took the newly named group into the studio to record their new single. This was the Jackie DeShannon penned Day Dreamin’ Of You. It was released as a single on GNP Crescendo, in 1964. On  the flip side was William Powell’s Only Love. Both tracks brought out the best in The Fashionettes. Sadly, the wistful and dreamy sounding Day Dreamin’ Of You, failed commercially. The Fashionettes recording career was cut shot, and they failed to realise their potential. Their contributions to Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls with Just A Little Bit More are a reminder of a talented duo.

Beverly Williams is another artist who features twice on Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls with Just A Little Bit More. Her first contribution is a stereo mix of Little Girl With A Big Hurt. It was released as a single on GNP Crescendo, in 1964. It’s a tale of teenage heartbreak that was tailor-made for Beverly. She was still a teenager when she recorded the song. That’s also the case with Beverley’s demo of He’s Hurtin’ Me. Although it was recorded around 1964, it’s never been released before and makes its debut on Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls with Just A Little Bit More.

It seemed almost inevitable that Linda Mackey would go on to enjoy a career in music. Music surrounded her. Linda’s father was a booking agent, who brought some of the biggest names in blues music to Bakersfield. His love of music rubbed off on Linda. By high school, Linda was singing in talent shows and concerts. She was inspired by Etta James and later, Tina Turner. Indeed, Tina Turner wanted Linda to join The Ikettes. However, because of her age, Linda’s mother said no. This wasn’t the end of Linda’s career.

Later, Linda met Gary S. Paxton who coincidentally, had worked with Tina Turner earlier in his career. Gary realised Linda was a talented singer, so signed Linda her. He produced Linda’s debut single Merry Go Round. It was released in May 1964. On the flip side was It Just Ain’t Right. Alternate mixes of both tracks feature on Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls with Just A Little Bit More. Listening to both tracks, it’s hard to believe that they were recorded so early in Linda’s career. That’s also the case with the demo of Reap What You Sow. Linda’s vocal bristles with hurt and emotion and showcases a talented and versatile singer. Linda would later release a Norther Soul single Yours For The Asking, and then embarked upon a career as a jazz singer.

The final two tracks from Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls with Just A Little Bit More I’ve chosen, come from Josephine Sunday. This includes Josephine’s 1964 single I Won’t Be Hurt Anymore. It’s ballad that was was written by Jerry Riopelle. Josephine delivers a heartfelt vocal on this tale of love gone wrong. On the flip side is He’s Not Mine Anymore. Again, it’s another tale of love lost. Listen carefully, and it seems that it’s been influenced by the Jackie DeShannon penned When You Walk In The Room. A year earlier, in 1963, it gave The Searchers a hit single. Despite the similarities, He’s Not Mine Anymore oozes hurt and regret.

Eleven long years after Ace Records released Boy Trouble: Garpax Girls, they release the long-awaited, and much anticipated sequel, Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls. It features another twenty-four of Gary S. Paxton’s finest productions for a variety of female singers between 1960 and 1966. 

During this period, Gary S. Paxton was establishing his reputation as a hotshot producer. He had the ability to transform an artists career and fortunes. So, it’s no surprise that The Idols, Beatrice Lee, Josephine Sunday, Chris Darlin and Dorothy Berry and The Swans all found their way to Gary’s Hollywood studio. With various songwriters, arrangers and producers, Gary set about making dreams come true. Sometimes it worked, and artists enjoyed that elusive hit single. Other times, commercial success eluded artists. Often that’s despite creating a single that oozed quality. That’s the case with the thirteen singles on Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls. However, there’s more to Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls than just thirteen tracks.

There’s eleven previously unreleased tracks. Among them, are numerous hidden gems from several hidden gems. No wonder. There’s contributions from Linda Mackey, Mary Saxton, Beatrice Lee and Beverly Williams. Some of these unreleased tracks are alternate takes or demos. They show a different side to a familiar track. Others fall into the category of hidden gems. They’re the ones that, for whatever reason, were never released. Who knows, this might include the one that got away? What I do know, is that Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls is a worthy sequel to Boy Trouble: Garpax Girls. It may have been eleven years in the making, but Keep A Hold On Him! More Garpax Girls has been well worth the wait.

KEEP A HOLD ON HIM! MORE GARPAX GIRLS.

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