The Girls Of Hideaway Heaven compilation is the first in a series of compilations put out by the Australian label, Rare Rockin' Records and it's chock full of rare girl singers and some girl groups recorded mostly between 1961 to 1964, with a few later titles thrown in. Chock full with 32 tracks total, this is goldmine of lesser known recordings, some of which are quite collectible. Rare Rockin' Records is known for its compilations that collect Belgium popcorn oldies, teen, northern soul & doo wop with compilation series like this one and others like The UK Teen Sound Rarities, Hideaway Heaven, And The Bigger Sound.
The Girls Of Hideaway Heaven digs deeper, finding jazz singers (jazz singers Pat Thomas, Julie London, Gogi Grant and Betty Madigan all have songs here) and tv and movie stars who recorded records (actress singers Jeri Lynn Fraser, Donna Loren, Molly Bee, and Noreen Corcoran also have songs here) along with the teen one offs and rarities. And although this compilation doesn't have the greatest sound quality with its bootleg sound quality, there's some extraordinary lost gems here, it's a fun compilation for the girl group/girl singer collector who just can't afford to dish out for the original 45s that can sometimes fetch triple figures nowadays.
The cd does start with two tracks that were actually made available on legitimate cd compilations at around the same time this compilation came out. The Victorians' You're Invited To a Party was included on the Girls Go Zonk!! on RPM, it is a great tune for those who enjoy the lighter side of the girl group sound and would sound wonderful back to back with anything from the Party with The Pixies Three album.
Barbara English's Bad News is actually Barbara English with The Fashions and it can be found on The Clickettes Meet the Fashions: Their Complete Dice Recordings on UK-based Ace Records. On this cd Barbara Jean English sings most of the lead vocals long before becoming a soul singing sensation in the 1970s.
Bad News is a Johnny Nash penned tune, recorded while his career had stalled and he was releasing a series of non-hit singles for Warner Brothers, Groove, and Argo, and before he had hits like Let's Move and Groove Together, Hold Me Tight and I Can See Clearly Now with the Jamaican influenced reggae sound. Bad News has a classic oldies girl group sound with a slight lilting exotic feel in its rhythm, Barbara English's vocals soaring over it with The Fashions providing backing vocals.
Barbara Chandler was one of many who recorded the girl group classic It Hurts to be Sixteen (with background vocals by The Charlettes) in a trilogy of 45s for Kapp Records in 1963/'64, but here we hear her singing I Live To Love You, another youthfully exuberant piece of girl group fun with plucked string arrangements, backing vocals almost as sweet as can be heard in her version of It Hurts to be Sixteen (maybe by The Charlettes or The Toys, since she was married to Vince Marc, manager of the Toys), and Barbara's super sweet vocals propelling this sweet piece of wax into your heart. For those who love the charm of It Hurts to be Sixteen, I Live To Love You is waiting for you.
Noreen Corcoran was a former childstar from Quincy, Massachusetts best remembered for her stint in Girls On The Beach (which also featured music by Lesley Gore and The Beach Boys) and the fabulous Nino Tempo produced Love Kitten which is one of the sexier girl group inspired records (and was the b-side to another fabulous girl group sounding record in Why Can't A Boy And A Girl Stay In Love).
Noreen Corcoran also recorded Love of Mike, her next single, which doesn't really hold up next to Love Kitten or Why Can't A Boy And A Girl Stay In Love, since she sounds under rehearsed a bit, but there's a sweetness to her off key vocal which could win you over.
Donna Loren originally from Boston, is best remembered for her roles in the Beach Party movies and releasing the Capitol label released album Beach Blanket Bingo (which was just reissued in Japan this year) which was rush released when the Beach Party movies were so successful.
Donna Loren's first record was Hands Off in 1962 on a Crest 45, actually released prior to all of the Beach Party craziness back when she was signed by the American Publishing Company to sing demos. This Crest 45 was their first venture and it is a solid upbeat piece of fun with Donna Loren squealing her way through this popping girl pop record.
Dean Cannon was originally one of the Cannon Sisters. The Cannon Sisters worked with Barry DeVorzon and Bodie Chandler of Barry & the Tamerlanes (DeVorzan later went on to write instrumental themes like Nadia's Theme and the Theme From S.W.A.T. and Chandler wrote Beginning of the End by Diane Emond and What About Me? which was recorded by both Ramona King and Charlotte O'Hara), and Perry Botkin Jr. (arranger for the Cascades' hit Rhythm of the Rain a group actually discovered by Barry DeVorzon; Botkin Jr. also arranged for later groups like The Lettermen, Harper's Bizarre, Bobbie Gentry, Rod McKuen, The Electric Prunes and The Mojo Men). The Cannon Sisters released two records on the Warner Bros subsidiary label Valiant.
Dean Cannon released one solo record also on Valiant with the songs When Love Goes Wrong (Nothing Goes Right) (which was written by Bodie Chandler) and You've Been Talkin'. When Love Goes Wrong can be found on the Japanese compilation, Dream Boy Volumes 1 (some of the Cannon Sisters' songs can be found in the Dream Boy series as well) while You've Been Talkin' is here.
Dean Cannon went on in the mid-60s to sing and write songs with the We Five-like folk rock group The Deep Six, whose entire catalog was reissued on Rev-Ola, and whose membership included Dann Lottermoser who later joined Stone Country. The Deep Six recordings had some David Gates arrangements and session musicians included Carole Kaye, Howard Roberts, Glen Campbell, Barney Kessel, Al Casey, Larry Knechtel, and Ray Pohlman.
You've Been Talkin' has a classic girl group sound, with some lovely female backing vocals and an astoundingly sweet lead vocal from Dean Cannon.
Vicky Lester's Is This the Beginning of the End may well be the same song as Bodie Chandler of Barry & the Tamerlanes wrote for Diane Emond (I don't know, I've never heard the Diane Emond song). Not to be confused with Vicky Lester, The Human Camera, this Vicky Lester (also known as Vicki) also released the single Alcohol & Tears b/w Fool Me Again (not included here).
Is This the Beginning of the End has a classic country tear jerker lyric mixed with a pumping oldies music backing with soaring background vocals and strings, and double-tracked vocals when Vicky sings "Is This the Beginning of the End?"
Jackie Lee is probably best remembered in the UK for her hits White Horses (released as Jacky) and Rupert, but she had a prolific career as a session singer and releasing girl group styled records that sometimes show up on girl group compilations like Dream Babes, Vol. 1: Am I Dreaming? (with Jackie Lee's The Town I Live In) or Dream Babes vol.2 - Reflections (including You Too Can have Heartaches).
In the late 50s/early 60s Jackie Lee performed and released records with the Raindrops, who mainly played American hits of the day (like The Locomotion and Party Lights on the UK tv show Parade of the Pops every week. They also released singles on the Oriole and Philips labels and appeared in the movie Just For You in 1964 with Peter and Gordon, Freddie and the Dreamers and the Applejacks.
Leading up to this time, Jackie Lee came more to the forefront in the group, and in 1962, they released There Goes the Lucky One on Oriole. There Goes the Lucky One has a classic doowop feel to it (like the Drifters) with gliding strings, some close harmonies backing her from the Raindrops and Jackie Lee's soaring vocals.
This song was also released by Vikki Sallee (who's married to Doug Dillard, legendary banjo player from The Dillards, also from the Andy Griffith show), the Queen of Hillbilly Hollywood, on Reprise. Jackie Lee's version doesn't sound country or hillbilly, but I could easily hear it performed in that way.
There Goes the Lucky One has also appeared taken from a crackly single on the doowop collection Found In The Basement, Vol. 2 and the Marginal compilation Girls, Girls, Girls vol.4. It sounds pretty good hear though.
Barbara McNair is probably best known as an actress in movies like They Call Me Mister Tibbs! with Sidney Poitier, and a variety of tv show appearances like McMillan and Wife, The Mod Squad, Police Woman, General Hospital, and the Jeffersons. She actually had recorded records though in the late 50s and 60s for the Coral, Signature, Roulette, and Warner Brothers labels before recording some Motown records.
Big Shot Nothing Bringer was the b-side to her Roulette single Honeymoonin' in 1961, and at first it doesn't seem like much what with its slow string laden introduction. But once Barbara sings "You promised me a poodle and a fancy foreign car... but you're a big shot nothing bringer and you know that's what you are!" this song kicks into high gear and is a lot of fun, so stick around til after that intro.
Clairette Clementino released a series of singles for Capitol Records in 1963 and 1964, working with Jimmie Haskell around the same time he worked on the From Russia with Love and Teen Love Themes albums for Capitol. These singles included the 1963 revival of the Terri Dean/Petula Clark 1959 song, Adonis backed with Bless My Soul; He Don't Want Your Love Anymore b/w Never Love A Wandering Boy; and Since I Fell In Love With You b/w It's Happening To Me in 1964.
He Don't Want Your Love is the track featured here, and it's a bubbly Lesley Gore influenced track with sparkling background vocals and rock solid beat, all scooting Clairette's Gore-like delivery along
perfectly. He Don't Want Your Love was also recorded by Lulu under the name Linda Doll & the Sundowners in a milder version which can be found on her EP Collection, The Piccadilly Story compilation, Beat, Beat, Beat, Vol. 2: Fab Gear -- More Mop Top Rarities, and Here Come the Girls, Vol. 6, but the much better Clairette Clementino version can only be found
here. Pat Thomas (not to be confused with Pat Thomas, the keyboard player) from Chicago is best remembered as a jazz vocalist from the late 50s when she released the Jazz Patterns album on the Strand label, and Moody's Mood and Desafinado on the MGM label.
Desafinado is a lost bossa nova classic thanks to her working with Lalo Schifrin as conductor/arranger, and musicians Paul Horn, Laurindo Almeida, Buddy Clark, and Mel Lewis (the song Desafinado was even made into a Scopitone!).
Pat Thomas' Where There's Love There's Hope is not bossa nova or jazz however, it's a classic girl group oldies song written by Ben Raleigh (who also wrote Ray Peterson's Tell Laura I Love Her and songs for Lesley Gore, Connie Francis, Lou Rawls, and Doris Day, amongst scads of others) and her vocals are stellar as they fly into ranges you might not think are possible over impeccable arrangements by Claus Ogerman (who also worked with girl singers like Connie Francis, Astrud Gilberto, and Lesley Gore). It's too bad the strings distort the record near the conclusion.
Where There's Love There's Hope was released originally as the b-side for Home In The Meadow, a song from John Ford's How the West was Won a song with a Western theme, so it's nice that this girl group gem was found in such a strange place.
Molly Bee from Oklahoma was prolific starting at a young age starring in tv a and movies and releasing a ton of singles on
- Capitol (1952-1954, and 1957-1958)
- Coral (1955), Dot (1956)
- Liberty (1962-1964)
- MGM (1965-1967)
- Granite (1974-1975)
enjoying success early on with I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus in 1952 and Don't Start Courtin' in a Hot Rod Ford, a duet with Tennessee Ernie Ford in 1953.
Some Tears Fall Dry heard here was released during her failed stint at Liberty records, and its a Richard Barrett song, originally recorded by The Chantels (which can be found on cd The Look in My Eyes: The Best of Carlton & Ludix Years). Molly Bee's version isn't as focused or soulful as The Chantels version, but on the other hand it lacks the somewhat cloying background vocals of The Chantels version. Molly Bee's version is more light hearted sounding and has a sweeter sounding flute flirting and dancing with the melody throughout.
Mary Petti has a rockabilly influenced sounds just like Brenda Lee on Just For a Boy. Mary Petti recorded some singles for RCA including this song and Hey, Lawdy Lawdy (not found on this compilation) which you can hear on Rockin' From Coast to Coast, Vol. 3 on Ace.
Another sweet, fun, rockabilly laced girl group record that is way fun is the Portraits' Yo Yo Girl released on RCA Victor as the b-side to Big Brother's Friend. The Portraits released one other single on Tri-Disc with Three Blind Mice and We're Gonna Party (not heard here though).
Rose Dubats is probably more well known for her song Signals From Saturn (which can be found on Dream Boy Volumes 3) because of its space theme, but RRR includes its b-side Wonder Where the Boys Go here. Wonder Where The Boys Go has a similar rhythm to Signals From Saturn but is moodier over all and isn't as charming. The original 45 with these two songs on Raynard can fetch upwards of $250.
Kelly Garrett's lovely and sweet Tommy Makes Girls Cry was released backed with Baby It Hurts on the Ava label in 1963. Little Linda's peppy string laden You Know can be found along with her recording with her group of Hey Little Lover on the The Kiddie Sound - So Young, Vol. 3, a 31 track collection of young doo-wopper tracks.
Helen Chance was a background singer with the Jordanaires for Jerry Lee Lewis. Her song That's the Way He Was With Me is a bouncy Lesley Gore sounding tune with double tracked chorus vocals. Mary Pastor's Certainly You Are is playful Connie Francis styled number originally released on Roulette Records in 1960 as the b-side for I Want A Place Of My Own In Your Heart.
Julie London's I Want To Find Out For Myself was released on a Liberty single in 1964 (fittingly b/w Guilty Heart), and was also featured on her self-titled Liberty lp from 1964 (which also featured her version of You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry). Another singer best remembered as a jazz pop singer is Gogi Grant, whose girl group inspired record Joanie's Shadow was released in the CRC label as the b-side for Send Him Back To Me.
Until this kind of stuff makes it onto legitimate compilations on labels like RPM, Ace, and Rhino, you'll have to scoop up bootleg compilations like this to hear these lost girl group/girl singer records.