Various Artists

Here Come the Girls, Vol. 7: The Trouble with Boys

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Where most compilation series run out of material over the course of their first few volumes, Sequel's Here Come the Girls maintains an uncommon consistency from start to finish -- volume seven, subtitled The Trouble With Boys, is arguably the best of the bunch, a superb 24-track set that, despite its reliance on minor hits and obscurities, deserves consideration alongside the finest girl group collections ever compiled. The one-two punch of the opening "Baby Baby (I Still Love You)" and "Please Don't Wake Me," which together constitute the A- and B-sides of the lone offering of the Cinderellas (really the Cookies in disguise), is alone worth the price of admission, a brilliant approximation of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound aesthetic at its most dramatic and grandiose. Equally magical is the Jewels' "Opportunity," a classic fusion of teen-dream innocence and R&B swagger capturing the girl group sound at its most soulful and street-smart. Lesser-known recordings from hitmakers like the Toys, the Essex, Shelley Fabares, and Little Eva round out the set -- essential stuff for collectors and casual fans alike.

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