This series of girl group rarities and oddities turns its focus to the Atlantic vaults for its fourth volume. Actually, some of these might tread closer to soul, pop/rock sung by female solo vocalists, or even doo wop than the standard girl group sound. But that shouldn't bother people looking for some reasonably interesting rock in this vein of the early and mid-1960s, which is here in quantity on this uneven but generally worthwhile anthology. None of these were big hits, and in fact only a few of the performers (Doris Troy, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles, April Stevens) will ring bells for most non-specialist listeners. There are some quite good tracks here, though: the original version of "A Groovy Kind of Love" by Patti LaBelle; Shirley Matthews's "Big Town Boy" (a fine Phil Spector sound-alike and a big hit in her native Canada); Troy's customarily excellent soul-pop/rock on her two tracks; more son-of-wall-of-sound on the Goodnight Kisses' "If He Kissed Me"; Shirelles-style stuff by Carol Shaw (later of Goldie & the Gingerbreads) on "Jimmy Boy"; and a rare 1956 doo wop/pop outing by the Cookies (the only track here not from 1960-67). Sometimes the cuts are obviously imitative, like the Dorelles' "Heat Wave" knockoff "The Beating of My Heart," or the Meantimes' "Friday Kind of Monday" (produced and written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich), an answer record to the Mamas and the Papas' "Monday, Monday." Atlantic's high standard of production and arrangements makes this sound better and more accomplished than many such odds-and-ends compilations, and there are some big names among the producers of these tracks, like Barry-Greenwich, Bob Crewe, Nino Tempo, and Bert Berns.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger