Various Artists

R&B Heroines: Goldner's Golden Girls

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This is the opening volume in a two-volume set devoted to the female singers who recorded for George Goldner's Rama, Gee, End, Gone and Roulette labels from 1956 to 1963. These 25 tracks sample some of the cream of the crop from this (at the time) relatively new phenomenon in doo wop music. A central figure in introducing female singers into Goldner's vocal group sessions (he had under contract at one time the Crows, the Teenagers, the Valentines, Harptones, Wrens, Heartbeats and Cleftones) was composer/arranger Raoul J. Cita, who brought the Joytones -- heard on four selections and bookending this volume with "Gee What a Boy" and "Is This Really the End" -- into the fold by 1956. By the end of that decade, the Sweet Teens ("My Valentine," "With This Ring"), Mabel King ("Second Hand Love," "Symbol of Love"), the Chantels ("I'll Walk Alone"), 13-year-old Carol Blades ("When Will I Know," "What Did I Do Wrong") and Anne Haye ("Every Fortune Teller Tells Me," "Dilly Dally Darling") all had releases on Goldner's labels. By the early 1960s, their ranks were enlarged by releases from Savannah Smith ("Let It Be," "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere"), the Delvets ("Repeat After Me"), the Essex "What I Don't Know Won't Hurt Me," "Bring It to Me"), Ann Cole (the answer record "Don't Stop the Wedding" and "Have Fun"), the Carousels ("[If You Want To] You Can Come" and "Pretty Little Thing") and Anita Humes ("Been So Long"). All but one of the 25 selections are from the original master tapes, and the transfers sound astonishingly full and clean. This is a superlative collection that amply displays the distaff talent Goldner had in his stable and what fine music they left behind.

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