Various Artists

Queens of King: The King Girl Groups

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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
1 2:32
3 2:21
5 1:59
6 2:53
7 2:16
8 2:12
10 2:49
11 3:16
13 2:20
14 2:15
15 2:58
16 2:35
17 2:47
18 2:51
19 2:44
20 2:34
21 2:35
22 2:02
23 2:33
24 2:30
blue highlight denotes track pick