Various Artists

Queens of King: The King Girl Groups

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

This title might be a tad misleading for those on the lookout for music associated with the early-to-mid-'60s girl group sound. There's a bit of that here, but actually it's a 24-track compilation of female-sung R&B sides recorded for the King label between the mid-'50s and mid-'60s. Much of it's doo wop, with some of the later cuts skirting the edges of girl group and early soul styles. It's quite doubtful that even the well-versed early rock fan has heard of any of the artists, with the exception of the Bobbettes, who had a hit in 1957 with "Mr. Lee" (not on this anthology, as it was recorded for Atlantic). Leaving such distinctions aside, it's a fair, though not excellent, collection of female solo and vocal group sides, boasting more diversity than many such collector-oriented releases due to its mix of doo wop with slightly more modern forms. There's no particular King sound to create common links throughout; some of this is quite basic early doo wop, sometimes there are fuller arrangements that hint at sweeter pop slickness. Some of the better sides are Faith Taylor & the Sweet Teens' 1958 single, on which they sound like Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers; Lynn Davis' 1963 effort "My New Love," which sounds much like what Motown was cutting with Mary Wells or the Marvelettes at the time; and Beverly Ann Gibson's "Call on Me," which sounds almost Brenda Lee-influenced in vocal approach.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Faith Taylor & The Sweet Teens 02:32 Amazon
The Hamilton Sisters 02:53 Amazon
3 The Sharmettes 02:21 Amazon
The Shondels 02:35 Amazon
5 Juanita Nixon 01:59 Amazon
6 The Charmettes 02:53 Amazon
7 The Bobbettes 02:16 Amazon
8 Faith Taylor & The Sweet Teens 02:12 Amazon
The Hamilton Sisters 02:58 Amazon
10 Lynn Davis 02:49 Amazon
11 The Sharmettes 03:16 Amazon
The Shondels 02:41 Amazon
13 Ruth Carroll & The Hamilton Sisters 02:20 Amazon
14 The Sharmettes 02:15 Amazon
15 Beverly Ann Gibson 02:58 Amazon
16 The Bobbettes 02:35 Amazon
17 The Charmettes 02:47 Amazon
18 Ruth Carroll & The Hamilton Sisters 02:51 Amazon
19 The Shondels 02:44 Amazon
20 Alice Rozier 02:34 Amazon
21 The Vonns 02:35 Amazon
22 The Bobbettes 02:02 Amazon
23 The Shondels 02:33 Amazon
24 The Jewels 02:30 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick