Don’t Blow Your Cool! More 60s Girls From UK Decca.

Label: Ace Records.

For the British music industry, the success of The Beatles was a gamechanger. The only problem was that the pop boom caught some record labels unaware and they weren’t prepared.  They came to the party late, and it didn’t hep that some record label executives thought that pop music was a passing fad, and were reluctant to commit scarce resources to it. This had disastrous consequences. 

By the time, these labels eventually arrived at the party, their competitors had signed the most talented artists. One of the labels who had arrived at the party early were Decca.

During the sixties, Decca had an enviable network of A&R executives and talent scouts the length and breadth of Britain. Their finger was on the pulse of the local music scene and night after night, these talent scouts headed out to local pubs and clubs, where they listened to new bands and singers. Promising artists were signed to contracts, before other labels even had a chance to hear them. This included Steve Kimble, Dana Gillespie, Lulu, Marianne Faithfull, Barry St John, Vashti,  Billie Davis, Twinkle, Clare Torry and Kathy Kirby They all artists feature on Don’t Blow Your Cool! More 60s Girls From UK Decca which was recently released by Ace Records and is the followup to the critically acclaimed Love Hit Me!-Decca Beat Girls 1962-1970. 

Opening Don’t Blow Your Cool! More 60s Girls From UK Decca is All The Time In The World by Stevie Kimble, which was released in 1966. It was written and produced by John Macleod and Tony Macauly who produced the  singles with Bill Farley. They’re responsible for a big, bold arrangement while  Stevie Kimble seems to have been influenced by Sandie Shaw as she delivers an impassioned vocal.

During a career that  has spanned five decades Dana Gillespie has released around seventy albums and over twenty singles. Her career began at Pye Records and in 1968 she signed to Decca and released a cover of Donovan’s You Just Gotta Know My Mind. On the B-Side was one of Dana Gillespie’s compositions He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. It features an arrangement that could only have been recorded in the sixties, and lyrics that are akin to a stream of consciousness as she wonders aloud whether her partner loves her? The other contribution from Dana Gillespie is Tu N’as Vraiment Pas Change which is a French language cover of Donovan’s You Just Gotta Know My Mind which nowadays, is a rarity. 

In 1964, seventeen year old Marianne Faithfull signed to Decca and enjoyed a hit single with As Tears Go By. Two years later, in 1966, she recorded With You In Mind which featured on her fourth British album Love In A Mist.  It features a heartfelt and emotive vocal from Marianne Faithfull. Meanwhile Decca released two EPs in France and  this included  À Bientôt Nous Deux which featured a beautiful version of Nuit D’été (Summer Night).

Kathe Green was born in Beverley Hills into a musical family. Her father was the Oscar-winning composer and conductor Johnny Greene, and initially didn’t follow in his footsteps when she made her acting debut aged fourteen. Later, she landed a part in the Peter Sellers’ film The Party and moved to London. That was where her musical career began when she signed to Deram  and  released the single Primrose Hill which featured on her 1966 album Run The Length Of Your Wildness.  It’s a cinematic song where sweeping, swirling strings accompany Kathe Green’s vocal with veers between tender and emotive to powerful. Her other contribution is Promise Of Something New which also featured on Run The Length Of Your Wildness and showcases a talented and versatile vocalist who can breath life, meaning and emotion into lyrics.

Having travelled to New York aged eighteen, and discovered the music of Bob Dylan, Vashti Bunyan decided that she wanted to make a career out of music. Two years later, she was discovered  Andrew Loog Oldham, and in June 1965,  recorded the Jagger and Richards composition a peerless cover pf Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind. When Vashti’s debut single was released it failed to find an audience. That was the case when the followup single Train Song in 1966, and her 1970 debut album Just Another Diamond Day which was credited to Vashti Bunyan. She was so disappointed by the failure of her debut album that she turned her back on the music industry.

Thirty years later, Vashti Bunyan made a comeback after her  music was discovered by a new generation of musicians and record buyers. She went on to release two critically acclaimed albums, 2005s Lookaftering and her 2014 swansong Heartleap which is the perfect introduction to Vashti Bunyan.

Heartache Hurry On By was released by American born Joy Marshall in 1965. By then, she was a versatile singer who was best known as a jazz singer, but also sang soul. She delivers a hurt filled vocal powerhouse on what’s one of her finest recordings.

Before embarking upon a solo career, Margaret Burns was the lead singer of Margo and The Varvettes, the group she formed in County Down, Northern Ireland. By 1969, she was signed to Deram and was billed as Margo when she released the soulful sounding The Spark That Lights The Flame which is one of the compilation’s highlights.

Beverley Kutner was born in Coventry, and was studying drama when she started busking with her friend Des Partridge who was an aspiring folk singer. He managed to convince his friend to take to the stage at the Jack Hammer club. This was just the start, and by 1966, Beverley as she was  now billed, was signed to Deram and released her own composition Picking Up The Sunshine. After this, the up-and-coming folk singer began work on her debut album and returned in 1967 with a cover of Donovan’s  Museum. When the single failed commercially the album was scrapped, and in 1968 Beverley signed a deal with Joe Boyd and married fellow folk singer John Martyn. The pair went on to release two albums in 1970, Stormbringer and The Road To Ruin which are essential for anyone interested in Beverly or John Martyn’s music.

Mention Clare Torry and most music fans remember the singer for her wordless vocals on Pink Floyd’s The Great Gig In The Sky from Dark Side Of The Moon. By then, she had been working as s singer since the late-sixties and released several singles. This includes Love For Living in 1969, which is a reminder if any was needed, of a truly talented vocalist who enjoyed a long and illustrious career and worked with the great and good of music.

Closing Don’t Blow Your Cool! More 60s Girls From UK Decca is Kathy Kirby’s The Adam Adamant Theme. It was released in 1966, and sounds as if it’s a distant relation to the Goldfinger theme.

That is the story of Ace Records’ new compilation Don’t Blow Your Cool! More 60s Girls From UK Decca. It’s another lovingly curated compilation that features familiar faces and new names. Among the familiar faces are Marianne Faithfull and Lulu and were already enjoying successful careers.

Other artists, including Vashti and Beverley were relative newcomers and their careers were in their infancy. Just like other artists and groups on the compilation they hoped that they would enjoy successful careers. Sadly, that often wasn’t the case and they didn’t enjoy same longevity or success. That was despite the quality of the music that they were releasing. These singles and album tracks were the ones the got away and make a welcome return on Don’t Blow Your Cool! More 60s Girls From UK Decca.

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that commercial success passed these artists by and it’s no wonder that some of them turned their back on music. Often, reality kicked in, and artists realised that three or four years of struggling was enough. It was time to try something else. Other after releasing a several singles that failed to find an audience, they realised their future lay elsewhere. There was no point kidding themselves. Others, however, refused to give up on the dream.

They reasoned that the difference between success and failure was slim. Maybe, just maybe, their next single would result in that elusive hit single? However, often, there  was no justice, as perfectly good songs failed to find an audience. Eventually, artists realised that it was the end of the road. If they didn’t, someone else would take that decision for them.

As a result, some of the artists who had been ‘discovered’ by Decca’s talent scouts, returned to the drudgery of the 9-5 lifestyle. For them, the dream was over. 

For others, the journey had just begun and commercial success and critical acclaim came their way, and they’ve enjoyed long and successful careers, and the tracks on Don’t Blow Your Cool! More 60s Girls From UK Decca are from the early part of their career, when anything seemed possible, and the dream was still alive for all of the Decca girls.

Don’t Blow Your Cool! More 60s Girls From UK Decca.  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: