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The Red Bird Girls: Very First Time in True Stereo 1964-1966

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 21, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

From Real Gone Music comes a discovery that already has the collector community buzzing, and especially those collectors in search of previously unheard stereo--20 tracks discovered deep in the vaults of the Red Bird label, every one of which makes its true stereo debut right here! Founded in 1964 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and run by George Goldner, Red Bird is considered to this day as the girl group label of the '60s, and this collection produced by long-time archivist and engineer Ron Furmanek together with Ash Wells and annotated by James Moniz features the biggest stars on the label roster, and sources its first-time stereo mixes straight from the original master tapes. Among the most notable tracks are Call Me His, a totally unknown and unreleased recording from the great Ellie Greenwich written by a neophyte songwriter named Neil Diamond; an early, unreleased version of The Boy from New York City, recorded by the Ad-Libs back when they were known as The Cheerio's; Go Now by Bessie Banks, a song that became a big hit for The Moody Blues a year later, and I Can t Let Go by Evie Sands, which, similarly, became a hit for the Hollies; I Wanna Love Him So Bad by The Jelly Beans featuring a rare lead vocal from Alma Brewer, and The Young Generation's The Hideaway featuring a very young Janis Siegel before she became a superstar with Manhattan Transfer. Meticulously documented inside a 16-page booklet boasting copious photos and interviews with Siegel, Sands and songwriter/producer Brooks Arthur among many others, The Red Bird Girls Very First Time in True Stereo sheds a new light on the genius artists, songwriters and producers that recorded for the Red Bird label, and displays their work in all its sonic stereo glory.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 21, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: February 21, 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Real Gone Music
  • Run Time: 57 minutes
  • ASIN: B006QHH2CK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #239,509 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 3, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Girl Group fans alert! Run, don't "walk" and grab this new CD from the recently formed Real Gone Records label! It's THAT good!

I admit up front that I'm a huge fan of early 1960s girl group records, whether it's the Phil Spector Productions are the Ellie Greenwich songs on Red Bird. Until someone unearths more Spector material, I think we've seen all we will from that label. But, Producers Ron Furmanek and Ash Wells hit a goldmine when they discovered the original master tapes from the New York-based Red Bird Label and along with Real Gone co-founder, Gordon Anderson, made new transfers in REAL stereo. They also included on this CD two "alternate versions" (Ad-Libs and Jelly Beans).

With a few exceptions - mostly "I Know He Loves Me" by Chi Chi McCauley - that have a "muddy" background (probably in the masters) - the sound is superb. Listen to the chimes on the alternate take of "I Wanna Love Him So Bad".

A couple of these tracks never became hits for Red Bird but later cover versions by British bands made the charts. "Go Now" (Bessie Banks) was covered by the Moody Blues and "I Can't Let Go" (Evie Sands) was covered by the Hollies.

There are a few new discoveries here too. The Younger Generation - whose "The Hideaway" is included here had a 12-year old Janis Siegel (later of the Manhattan Transfer) in the female trio. These were her Brooklyn high school days. And there is a rare Ellie Greenwich performance of "Call Me His" written by fellow "New Yawker" Neil Diamond. Not a great performance but still fun.

When you put the CD in your player the "Total Time" display will say it is over 77 minutes. But there are only 20 tracks here, averaging 3 minutes. Why? Because they added another 21 minutes (!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
All Red-Bird label enthusiasts must have this release. Not only are all the selections in true stereo, but there are over ten outtakes featuring studio chatter (and singing!) from the likes of Evie Sands, Brooks Arthur, George Goldner, Al Gorgoni and Jeff Barry. Your toes will curl in ecstasy when you hear the sublime remixes of "The Dum Dum Ditty", "I Can't Let Go", "He's So Easy To Love", "No True Love", "Gee, Baby, Gee" and especially "I Wonder". However, the Charmettes track "Sugar Boy" is only memorable for its stereo mix; the vocals are badly obscured on Evie Sands' "Take Me For A Little While" and Ellie Greenwich's unreleased "Call Me His"; and the latter tune sounds like an unfinished recording. I was also disappointed that a lot of reverb was removed in the remastering process; that "Erect-A-Spector" sound some of the original singles had is gone, for the most part. But please! Don't let these criticisms scare you away from what I hope will be the first of several stereo Red-Bird collections from Real Gone Music.
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Format: Audio CD
Red Bird (& Blue Cat) Girls in True Stereo 1964-66 hit parade (highest national chart placements given):
* The Ad Libs "The Boy from New York City" (1965) [#6 R&B / #7 pop]
* The Jelly Beans "I Wanna Love Him So Bad" (1964) [#7 R&B / #9 pop]]
*(the above are both previously unissued alternate versions)

Bessie Banks "Go Now" (1964) [#40 R&B / #146 pop]
The Butterflys "I Wonder" (1965) [#91 pop]
Evie Sands "Take Me for a Little While" [#114 pop]
The Goodies "The Dum Dum Ditty" (1965) [#123 pop]

First, why I am docking this collection one star: while there is much here that is a real treat for girl-groupophiles and audiophiles, the "true stereo" mix might not in all cases be the best one. The one that really bothers me is my favorite record here, Evie Sands' "Take Me for a Little While," which to me should have been a runaway number one record in 1965 - a brilliantly composed (by Chip "Wild Thing" and "Angel of the Morning" Taylor and Al Gorgoni) pop-soul gem powerfully delivered by the tremendous young singer. The sad story here, especially since it was a real setback to Evie's career, involved the illegal sale of her test recording to Chess Records who put out Jackie Ross's version of it first, not knowing they were undercutting another company's record. The problem on this present CD is that this mix is seriously flawed, with the instrumentation (especially violins) overwhelming the vocal at a certain point. However, her "I Can't Let Go" sounds perfect. It should have been the highly anticipated follow-up to "Take Me for a Little While," but it never got any traction; whereas the Hollies' cover version came close to the Top 40 in the U.S.
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Format: MP3 Music
Over fifty years on and still more material from the sixties is being released for the first time. This Red Bird release is a case in point with its newly mixed stereo versions of girl group and girl singer singles from 1964 to 1966, and even a couple of previously unreleased takes. Surprisingly there is nothing here from the Shangri-Las, but most of their biggest hits have appeared elsewhere on CD in stereo mixes. They did record a version of The Dum Dum Ditty, whose original version by the Goodies opens this compilation.

The Jelly Beans are represented by the B-side The Kind Of Boy You Can't Forget,originally a Raindrops hit, and an alternative, earlier version of their own Top Ten hit I Wanna Love Him So Bad that has a lead vocal by Alma Brewer instead of Elyse Herbert. Both of these were written by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry who provide no less than seven of the songs represented here, including two by Ellie Greenwich herself: her classic single You Don't Know, which really benefits from the stereo soundscape, and a demo of Another Boy Like Mine which was later a single for the Raindrops (Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry). When Ellie Greenwich first met Neil Diamond as an aspiring young songwriter he sang her a song of his own called Call Me His which impressed her sufficiently that she made a recording of the song herself. Never before released, her version closes the disc.

More Ad-Libs stereo mixes are promised, according to the liner notes, but two are previewed on this release. I'm Just A Down Home Girl is an answer record to Alvin Robinson's Down Home Girl and The Boy From New York City is an early, unreleased version (when they were still the Cheerios) of their US Top Ten hit.
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