Various Artists

Let's Hear It for the Girls [Crimson/Demon]

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Let's Hear It for the Girls is a fine collection of girl groups and female-fronted soul from the '60s. Because it was released by a British label, there is more focus on female singers from there than usual on a compilation like this. It is hard to argue that singers like Lulu (whose bouncy "Boy" is one of the highlights of the record), Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, and Petula Clark don't belong right near the top of the girl pop class right next to Lesley Gore, Betty Everett, and Maxine Brown, though. Because they do! In fact, almost all the songs and groups represent the cream of the crop, from Fontella Bass' "Rescue Me" to the Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack" and Freda Payne's "Band of Gold." Add to them some excellent obscurities like Reparata & the Delrons' "The Captain of Your Ship," the awesome Helen Shapiro's "Walkin' Back to Happiness," and Clodagh Rodgers' (the most unmusically named girl singer ever) "Come Back and Shake Me," and you're looking at a strong introduction to the girl group sound. The only thing that keeps the recommendation from being ironclad is the inclusion of two songs each by Betty Everett and Sandie Shaw. You have to wonder why the compilers decided to repeat artists when there are so many great girl singers and groups to choose from. Still, if you are the kind of listener who doesn't really care about that stuff (call yourself lucky), then this disc is nothing but a good time filled with first-class songs from some of the best girls of the '60s.

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