Friday, August 07, 2009

Various - Teenage Heaven: The Fifties Girl Group Phenomenon
El

Thirty-something collection of teenage vamps and those lovin' in vain providing samples of the tear-jerking tales of heartbreak as true (truer) and fundamentally, painfully real as any grizzled been-round-the block-so-many-times-they've-got-their-own-heel-shaped-star-in-the-pavement country singer, shot through with their legendary, scarily all too believable and palpable doomed romanticism. So we get a few songs each of lying, loving and will he won't he laments and doo-wopping lessons in love from The Shirelles, The Chantels, The Bobbettes and others lesser savoured by history but no less appealing - The Tonettes, The Joytones, The Poin-Tails, Threeteens (with the acely punning Doo-Waddie - as in 'Do what he tells you...' and almost Shonen Knife-like Elvis joins the army elegy Dear 533-10761)...yeah, The Ronnettes, The Crystals and Shangri-La's are very conspicuous and glaring omissions, assumedly due to the old licensing issues but this is still a grand old low-budget romp with a bulging barnet that would make Kate Pierson & Cindy Wilson go back to go and commence the shake all over again, which is a nice little link to their rightly stating the influence and inspiration these girls had on the punk scene a timely fifteen or so years later (like The Shirelles' I Want You To Be My Boyfriend). Remorselessly lovely, full of misplaced innocence, knowing sorrows, glorious harmonies, heart-wrenching cuteitudes a go go, alongside some garrulously glammed up grin-smacking slaps such as The Bobbettes' Mr. Lee and Look At The Stars. When all's said, sung and undone, if these doesn't make your chest ache and heart pound and guts swirl pleasantly there's really not much hope for you.
Stu Gibson

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