From beat belles to big ballads, here’s producer Shel Talmy’s small but perfectly formed coterie of mid-60s Brit-girls.
Shel Talmy was the American producer best known for Shepherding acts like Who, Kinks and Easybeats who topped the UK charts in the mid-1960s. Despite his inherent association with the muscular, guitar-driven rave of the beat and mod scenes, Talmy had Catholic tastes and was equally gravitating towards the nuances of orchestrated pop during the period, which inevitably affected the female nudes he worked with. Tommy's hand was behind several much touted "Beat Chick" recordings, such as "A Ladies Man" - heard here in an alternate version - and the work of the groundbreaking all-women combo Goldie & the Gingerbreads (which will soon have a long-awaited own Anthology on Ace).
Female entertainers arrived on the doorstep of Talmy's Orbit-Universal Productions in Soho, much like the legions of male groups and singers of the time who followed the time-honored Danish road route. Often signed for both management and recording, some of these have been released on his own short-lived Planet Records imprint.
As a seasoned engineer, Talmy understood the sound and realized that the most efficient way to run the studio was to hire the best musicians and arrangers like David Whitaker and Keith Mansfield. Predictably, even if his work with female singers wasn't particularly productive during this period, the batting average remained extremely high.
"Shel's Girls" collects the best moments from Tommy's female record making in the mid-60s and adds some unheard gems from our last extended forays into its remarkable archive, for a veritable hodgepodge of Brit-Girl pleasures. Artists like the schoolgirl trio the Orchids, the powerful Belfast teenager Perpetual Langley or the gloomy Bond girl Dani Sheridan will probably be familiar to connoisseurs. Then there are the obscure but no less worthy sounds of Liz Shelley, Van Lenton and Dusty / Gingerbreads acolyte Stevie Holly.
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