Strong-voiced Helen Shapiro was one of the biggest stars of the pre-Beatles British music scene. The 14-year-old belter had a run of 11 hit singles, including two that hit number one. This 24-track collection does a fine job of rounding up her biggest hits as well as some of her more successful EP and album sides. She could sing pop (both teenage and adult), rock & roll, and girl group-style songs with equal vigor, and each style is well represented here. She absolutely nails the teen pop of "Little Miss Lonely," "Don't Treat Me Like a Child," and "You Don't Know," sounding like a regal Brenda Lee. The adult pop of "Beyond the Sea" and "Fever" prove no match to Shapiro's knockout voice; she melts "Fever" like no one this side of another Miss Lee, Peggy. Her rocking side is well represented by "Keep Away from Other Girls," the rollicking "Ole Father Time," the rockabilly-influenced, Jackie DeShannon/Sharon Sheeley-penned "Woe Is Me," and the sexy, bluesy "I Walked Right In (With My Eyes Wide Open)." She didn't really fit in with the girl group scene (ironically, she didn't sound teenaged enough), but she does a great job here on the Shirelles' "Will You Love Me Tomorrow." It is truly amazing that Shapiro was a mere teenager when these songs were recorded -- her voice is so robust and powerful and the readings she gives to the material are so adult and knowing. A's B's & EP's shares 12 tracks with the equally fine collection Helen Shapiro at Abbey Road: 1961-1967. You really can't go wrong with either one, though the Abbey Road collection gets the nod for having better liner notes and track annotations. Actually, you will probably want all the Helen Shapiro you can get your hands on once you hear her amazing voice.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra