Various Artists – Go Girls: The Women of Red Bird (Charly Records)

The first album I bought with my own money was Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet. Oi, no sniggering at the back of the punk rock class, please. I would’ve been 8 or 9 when I purchased the cassette in Tesco in sunny Talbot Green, South Wales. A short walk from the main store was a stand-alone branch of Tesco specialising in garden furniture, homeware, records and toys. Oh, boy were there toys. Circa 1983, if I’d been a good lad my Mam would let me choose a Star Wars action figure. But that’s a story for another time. Buying records provided equally as much excitement. I loved getting the latest pop 45 in my hands, or in this case, a full-length from New Jersey’s cock rockers. What I’m trying to get at is that I mustn’t scoff at the resurgence of supermarkets starting to sell vinyl again. Along with a little record shop in my Welsh village, and also at Woolworths, supermarkets were where it all started for me around the mid eighties. I may well lose 1,000,000 punk rock scene points, but I just purchased a great little comp in Sainsbury’s entitled Go Girls: The Women of Red Bird.

Sainsbury’s have been involved in releasing a number of exclusive limited edition pressings on coloured vinyl in the last few years. There I am, impatiently queuing for my daily 40 smokes and I end up coming out with Ian Dury’s New Boots and Panties!! on orange vinyl and T. Rex’s The Slider on silver. Damn you, Sainsbury’s! So, here I am with a Red Bird compilation headlined by my beloved Shangri-Las on shocking pink vinyl. Phwoar!

Founded by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the now legendary Red Bird was, for a time, the hottest independent record label in 1960s America. Working out of New York’s renowned Brill Building, George “Shadow” Morton along with the husband and wife team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, produced some of the most influential girl group sounds of the time. So this, my friends, is a real treat for fans of Red Bird and the associated Blue Cat, Tiger and Daisy labels.

The aforementioned Shangri-Las kick-off this 17 track affair. Man, I cannot stress enough my love for The Shangri-Las on these punk rock pages. It’s got to the stage where I’m convinced I should’ve been a heartbroken teenage girl from New York in 1960-something. God, I’m such a sucker for the so-called melodramatic “death disc.” Leader of the Pack was made for vinyl and it sounds as resplendent as ever, here. The Dixie Cups track of choice is Iko Iko; favoured ahead of Chapel of Love. There are so many amazing cuts on display across both sides of the wax, but the side A closer of Go Now by Bessie Banks takes some beating. Step aside, The Moody Blues.

Along with the power pop gem that is Come On Let’s Go, the Go Girls effort is the coolest comp you’ll buy in 2019. It’s probably worth noting that this album has a shelf price of fourteen quid. Much like ticket tout twats, opportunists are buying the Sainsbury’s exclusives and flogging them on eBay for an inflated price. In this case, as much as thrty nine pounds without postage or the packaging gubbins. Don’t give them the time of day, folks. If you love Sixties girl groups or you’re looking to discover the hippest sounds around at that time, then Go Girls is a welcome addition to any collection. Right, I’m off to even things up with a trip to my nearest independent record shop. Put the kettle on, Spillers Records! Ginge Knievil

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