Various Artists

Here Come the Girls, Vol. 2

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The second installment in the Here Come the Girls series includes Julie Grant (vocals), Billie Davis (vocals), and Helen Shapiro (vocals) -- all of whom were noteworthy artists in their native U.K. during the 1960s. This volume covers their respective output for the Pye label, offering up eight selections from each. The vocalists were primarily matched with pop standards, contributing to the occasional composition themselves. Case in point is Grant's lively reading of Gerry Goffin and Carole King's classic "Up on the Roof." Her considerable penchant for balladry is likewise displayed on the noir "Cruel World" and the lighter "When the Lovin' Ends," which Grant co-wrote. Other notable tracks from Grant's allotment are her interpretations of the Cinderellas' "Baby Baby (I Still Love You)" and Arthur Alexander's "Everyday I Have to Cry." Davis was brought to prominence by impresario Robert Stigwood, who changed her name from Carol Hedges and hooked her up with some prime material. She rends the Bacharach/David staple "The Last One to Be Loved" with a passion that debatably bests Dionne Warwick's take. Similarly, the brisk treatment of "Just Walk in My Shoes" has a groove and charisma that Gladys Knight's version misses. Originally a significant side for "Little" Peggy March, "You Don't Know" demonstrates the singer's sultry nature, not to mention one of the better instrumental backing scores from her brief mid-'60s association with Pye Records' Piccadilly subsidiary. Arguably the most familiar name on Here Come the Girls, Vol. 2 is that of Helen Shapiro. This cache commences in the late '60s, after she had made a name for herself, garnering a slew of charting tunes beginning in 1961. Fast-forward to the end of the decade when she re-teamed with composer John Schroeder, who had written Shapiro's Top Five "Don't Treat Me Like a Child." She had certainly matured by the time of these cuts, many of which have been derived from the Anthony King songbook. While none of these made much of a dent on the concurrent hit parade, among her powerful contributions are the upbeat "Silly Boy (I Love You)," the R&B-tinged "Take Me for a While," and the soulful "Take Down a Note Miss Smith" from the pen of future Amon Düül II percussionist Keith Forsey.