Honeybeat: Groovy 60s Girl-Pop

Various Artists

Real Gone Music, 2017

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Female or girl vocal groups will always be associated with the 1960s. The music was usually bright, shiny, and melodic. Artists such as the Shangri-Las, Ronettes, The Angels, and the like sold tens of millions of records and became household names. Bur for every star, there were dozens of artists who released a single or three and quickly vanished.

Honeybeat: Groovy 60s Girl-Pop is a labor of love. It resurrects 19 rare tracks by female pop singers and groups. The music has a clear sound and comes with a booklet that presents a short history of each track. While there are a few obscurities by some well-known artists such as Little Eva and Erma Franklin, the disc also features lesser-known groups like the Pussycats, Lollipops, Glories, Avons, not to mention Gia Mareo, and Sandi Sheldon. Many of these artists are only remembered by collectors of rare records.nbtc__dv_250

Sometimes the history of the artist is more interesting than the music. Enter the Pussycats. This act was a pre-fabricated clone of the Shangri-las. The group lasted for two singles, and the melodramatic “The Rider” shows why. Lead vocalist Gayle Harnass went on to perform on Broadway and with the 1970s cult favorite band Jo Mama.

The Glories was the Supremes on steroids. The released a number of singles for the Date label during the 1960s that were just too intense for AM radio at the time but would have been a good fit as music tastes changed during the 1970s. “No News” is typical of their approach – worth hanging out and taking a listen.

There were several groups named the Lollipops during this era. The one chronicled here released four singles for RCA and then retired to raise families. “Don’t Monkey With Me” is a bright fusion of R&B and doo-wop.

Van McCoy is remembered for his eternal disco hit “The Hustle,” but he composed over 700 songs and produced dozens of artists. One of his more obscure projects was “You’re My Lovin’ Baby” by the Sweet Things with lead singer Francine Hurd. It is a wonderful and sultry ballad that deserved better. The group dissolved but Hurd changed her name, found a new partner, and found commercial success as one half of Peaches And Herb.

Nichelle Nichols recorded the traditional blues standard “Why Don’t You Do Right,” which found little success. But her character of Lt. Uhuru on the original Star Trek series made her a star.

Honeybeat: Groovy 60s Girl-Pop is a living pop history lesson. While the music may only appeal to aficionados of the sound or era, if you fall into either of those categories, it is a treasure trove.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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