Look But Don’t Touch! Girl Group Sounds USA 1962-1966.

Label: Ace Records.

Format: LP.

Ever since the eighties, Ace Records has been the go-to label for girl group compilations. Since then, they’ve released ten volumes of their critically acclaimed Where The Girls Are as well as the Girls About Town and Stop, Look and Listen compilation series. Add to this various standalone collections on CD and the most recent addition to the Ace Records’ girl group family, the Girl Group Sounds USA series.

Recenly, Look But Don’t Touch! Girl Group Sounds USA 1962-1966 was released. This much-anticipated compilation is the fourth instalment in the series. Just like previous instalments in this successful compilation series it’s been released on vinyl. This has been the choice of discerning record collectors for the last few years. What better way to listen to a collection of tracks from the golden age of girl groups. Putting on the compilation is akin to musical time travel, and instantly, the listener is transported to another time and place when music sound very different and many people would say much better. Picking a  few highlights from this lovingly compiled compilation isn’t going to be easy. However, here goes

Side One.

One of the familiar faces opens the compilation. This is The Shirelles who are best remembered for their girl group classic Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Their contribution on Look But Don’t Touch! Girl Group Sounds USA 1962-1966 USA is Hey Rocky. This catchy and soulful sounding uptempo song was originally recorded when the group was signed to Scepter but never released. It made a belated and welcome debut on the Lost and Found collection which was released by Ace Records’ imprint  Impact in 1987. Twenty-five years later and it returns for a well deserved and belated encore. 

Nobody Loves Me was the first of six singles The Ikettes released on Modern Records. The group’s debut for their new label was released in 1964 and showcases the combined talents of Robbie Montgomery, Jesse Smith and Venetta Fields. Sadly, the single wasn’t a commercial success, and is best describe as girl group hidden gem. It’s also a reminder of what was a truly talented lineup of this group, who later, became The Mirettes.

LA- based group The Delicates were signed various labels  between 1963 and 1969. This includes the Challenge label where they recorded the Keith Colley and Nancy Mantz composition Dumb Song. Sadly, the this soulful tale of young love which says sashays along was never released. However, it makes a welcome debut on Look But Don’t Touch! Girl Group Sounds USA 1962-1966 and is a real find.

Singer and songwriter Linda Laurie wrote the song Chico with Bert Sterns whose label Keetch she was signed to. He also produced her 1964 single Jose He Say. Tucked away on the B-Side was Chico a heady brew of girl group, pop, R&B and Latin influences.

Tossin’ A Ice Cube was released by The Hollywood Chicks in 1962, and is one of the many dance craze records that were released over the next few years. This one was a commercial success, and also marks the recording debut of the legendary soul man Barry White who contributes handclaps on the track.

Side Two.

Larry Weiss produced the two singles that The Carolines released between 1966 and 1968. Many people thought was the only tracks the group recorded. However, that wasn’t the case. They recored Baby That’s Me with producer Larry Weiss which was never released until it was released on an EP in 2018 by Ace Records. It’s so good it returns for a well deserved encore on Look But Don’t Touch! Girl Group Sounds USA 1962-1966. Take a bow The Carolines with their version of this Jackie DeShannon and Jack Nitzsche song.

Sweet Kind Of Loneliness by The Darlettes was produced by Van McCoy and released on Mira in 1965. It features a beautiful, emotive vocal that’s wistful and tinged with sadness and later, longing. It’s a roller coaster of emotions on this cinematic relationship song that’s one of the highlights of the compilation. 

Carol Slade’s career began in the late-fifties when she was a member of The Gospelaires which also included sisters Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick. However, when not singing gospel, the talented singer worked as a backing vocalist with Judy Clay and Cissy Houston on records by some of the biggest names of the day including The Drifters, Garnet Mimms and Solomon Burke. After a successful solo career as a gospel singer Carol Slade crossed over. This she hoped would be a new and successful cheaper in her career. Sadly, she released just five singles including the Van McCoy penned I Wanna Know Right Now on Domino in 1963. It features a heartachingly beautiful and emotive vocal that’s tinged with uncertainty. Complimenting the vocal are lush sweeping strings and cooing harmonies. They play their part in what’s the finest single of a career that should’ve lasted longer and resulted in more success.

Closing Look But Don’t Touch! Girl Group Sounds USA 1962-1966 is Chu Sen Ling by The Bermudas. It was the B-Side of Donnie, which was the group’s first single for Era in 1964. It’s a reminder of the early sixtes West Coast sound which is still popular and remembered fondly today.

For anyone who has enjoyed the Where The Girls Are as well as the Girls About Town and Stop, Look and Listen compilations the Girl Group Sounds USA is another must have series. 

This includes the latest instalment in the series, Look But Don’t Touch! Girl Group Sounds USA 1962-1966. It was recently released on vinyl which is the perfect way to enjoy this eclectic selection of fourteen songs. It’s girl group goodness all the way on Look But Don’t Touch! Girl Group Sounds USA 1962-1966 which features singles, B-Sides, oft-overlooked hidden gems and previously unreleased tracks which make a welcome debut on this loving curated compilation from Ace Records.

Look But Don’t Touch! Girl Group Sounds USA 1962-1966.   

1 Comment

  1. I liked the Liverbirds, they had a lot of that Bo Diddley sound

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