Clickettes

Their Complete Dice Recordings: Plus Later Sides

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While doo wop was a genre strongly dominated by men, there were also a handful of noteworthy female vocal groups who were serving up fine harmonies before the birth of the girl group era in the '60s. While the Clickettes never had the same impact on the charts as the Bobbettes or the Chantels, either under their original moniker or their later handle, the Fashions, lead singer Barbara Jean English had a great voice that was both swinging and soulful, and they released a handful of fine singles which have been collected on CD in this disc from the British reissue imprint Ace Records. Their Complete Dice Recordings: Plus Later Sides includes the Clickettes' entire recorded output for the Dice label between 1958 and 1960 (including appearances on records credited to other acts and a pair of unreleased tunes), as well as several Fashions and English sides issued by Roulette and Warwick in 1961 and 1962. While the production gets a bit slicker on the later material, English's voice is in consistently fine form throughout, melding the emotional warmth of Southern soul with the clean, spunky lines of Brill Building pop, and listening to this set it's hard not to wonder why she didn't have a more successful recording career (though she later earned a reputation as a first-class demo singer and still works as a nightclub performer). In retrospect, one imagines being given songs like "Jive Time Turkey" and "The Lone Lover" had more to do with the Clickettes' failure to storm the charts than their own abilities, but while the material sometimes leaves something to be desired, this collection confirms that English and her cohorts had talent to spare, and fans of vocal pop from the '50s will revel in this.

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