Thursday, September 06, 2018

The Shangri-Las - Leaders Of The Pack (1964-66) 2005

Front cover Red Bird ‎– RB 20-101 1965

By the time that their sole long-player Shangri-Las-'65 hit the streets, the Queens, NY-based girl group had already made a sizable dent in the pop charts with the death rock anthem "Leader of the Pack," the equally angst-riddled teenage musical soap opera "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)," and the no-nonsense "Give Him a Great Big Kiss." The latter being forever branded with the sassy spoken "When I say I'm in love, you best believe I'm in love L-U-V!" introduction. The Shangri-Las consisted of two sets of siblings: twins Marge Ganser and Mary Anne Ganser as well as Mary Weiss and Elizabeth Weiss. It was under the guidance and influence of producer Shadow Morton that the young ladies gained access to the legendary Brill Building hitmakers Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. They supply nearly half of the dozen sides on this album. Primary among them are the catchy minor-chord "Out in the Streets" and -- perhaps trying to evoke the impact of "Leader of the Pack" -- the partially narrated "Give Us Your Blessing." Morton's unmistakable production values can be heard here at their most constructive. They capture the richness of a Phil Spector recording with a "theater of the mind" sonic realism, courtesy of Morton's affinity for sound effects. From the Kirshner/Nevins stable of talent came the soon-to-be Monkees composers Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. Before their connection with the pre-fabs, they offered the upbeat standout "Dum Dum Ditty" to the Shangri-Las. Other deep cut classics include the Motown-influenced rocker "Right Now and Not Later" and the funky James Brown groove that permeates the Morton-penned "Sophisticated Boom Boom."

The Shangri-Las - Leaders Of The Pack (1964-66) 2005

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