Girls With Guitars Gonna Shake!

Ace Records.

Format: CD.

There are very few compilation series that are still going strong after thirty-three years. Often, by then, the compiler has run out of material or musical tastes have changed.  However, some compilation series survive changing musical tastes and prosper. That’s the case with Ace Records’ long-running and successful series.

Incredibly, Ace Records  Girls With Guitars compilation series is still going strong after thirty-three years and recently, the seventh instalment hit the shops. This is Girls With Guitars Gonna Shake! 

This new compilation features twenty-five tracks from the golden age of girl groups and she pop. This golden age began around 1964 and continued right through to the dawn of the seventies. However, the tracks on Girls With Guitars Gonna Shake! were recorded between 1960 and 1969. Sadly, a number of tracks weren’t released until much later, and three make their debut on Girls With Guitars Gonna Shake!

The Belles were formed by guitarist Debbie Weaver, who formed the group in South Florida when she was just fourteen. In 1966, the group signed to the Tiara label and released a feminised remake of Them’s Gloria which was retitled Melvin. In an instant, this familiar Van Morrison composition is transformed and the track is reinvented. Tucked away on the B-Side is Come Back. With its lo-fi arrangement and an emotive vocal it’s a welcome addition to the compilation, and showcases this talented group whose career was sadly, short-lived

In 1963, in Blackpool, Lancashire, bassist Pauline Moran, drummer Janet Baily and guitarist Andrea Tune formed The Missfits. The three teenage friends advertised for a rhythm guitarist and fourteen year old Carola Daish applied and completed the lineup. A year later, in April 1964, the nascent group entered and won a talent competition at Pontins’ Squires Gate holiday camp. The prize was to record a single in a London studio. Three covers were chosen John Lee Hooker’s Dimples,  the Willie Dixon composition You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover and Chuck Berry’s I’m Talking About You. Sadly, the tracks were never released and the group split-up in 1965. Now fifty-eight years after they were recorded, this triumvirate of girl group gold makes a belated and welcome debut on Girls With Guitars Gonna Shake! They’re a reminder of a truly talented girl group who could’ve and should’ve gone on to greater heights.

In 1965, the second lineup of Goldie and The Gingerbreads covered Ray Charles’ What Kind Of Man Are You. It was produced by Shel Talmy and released on the Atco label. This cover version is a  slow, moody and mesmeric mix of blues and R&B that without doubt, is  one of the highlights of the compilation. 

Previously, the five members of The Beat-Chics had been members of the prestigious Ivy Benson Band, This new group was a new chapter in their career. In late 1964, they released a cover of Bill Haley and The Comets’ Skinny Minnie. A familiar track is reimagined and reinvented and  taken in a new direction. On the B-Side was Now I Know the urgent and driving mix of girl pop and R&B which has stood the test of time.

When Joyce Harris recorded a blistering version of I Got My Mojo Working in 1960, she was backed by the Texas bar band The Daylighters. The track for Domino was never released until 1998. That was when I Got My Mojo Working by Joyce Harris and The Daylighters made its debut, on the Ace Records’ compilation The Domino Records Story.

Sandra Barry and The Boys released Really Gonna Shake on Decca in 1964. By then, the singer was a familiar face in the London club scene, where she was usually backed by The Jet Blacks, a group which featured John Paul Jones. However, this memorable slice of girl group pop from its golden era is one of the highlights of Sandra Barry’s career.

The legendary Bob Shad produced The Wrongh Black Bag’s cover of the Al Kooper’s Wake Me, Shake Me. It was released as a single on the Mainstream label in 1968. It’s a driving, fusion of garage rock and psychedelia that features a powerhouse of a vocal from Chris Bernardoni who struts and swaggers her way through the song oozing sass.

Closing the compilation is Stardust Come Back by Girls Take Over. It was the B-Side of their 1969 single Hi Heel Sneakers which was released on Pentagon. However, as is often the case, the flip-side is vastly underrated and this heartachingly beautiful ballad brings Girls With Guitars Gonna Shake! to a poignant close.

It’s now thirty-three years since the release of the first instalment in Ace Records Girls With Guitar compilation series. Recently they released the seventh volume in this long-running and successful series. This was Girls With Guitars Gonna Shake! which has been released on CD. It’s a welcome addition to the series. The reason for this is simple, the quality of music

Rather than making the Girls With Guitar series an annual occurrence, Ace Records have decided to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. It’s two years since the previous volume in the Girls With Guitars Take Over! series was released. 

Just like previous instalments in the series Girls With Guitars Gonna Shake! doesn’t disappoint. No wonder. It features twenty-five songs from the golden age of the girl group and she pop. There’s familiar faces, new names and a sprinkling of hidden gems on Girls With Guitars Gonna Shake!which is a welcome addition to this long-running and critically acclaimed compilation series.

Girls With Guitars Gonna Shake!

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