(Written by Guy Hemric and Jerry Styner)
Back to the West Coast for VIP Records’ third release, as we meet Joanne and the Triangles for the first and only time.
This was a Californian family group, headed up by songwriting mum Rickie Page and her three daughters, Joanna, Sheilah (some sources say Susie) and Becky; the girls recorded for a slew of labels in the early Sixties, both all together and individually, under a bevy of different names (the Majorettes, Becky and the Lollipops, the Bermudas, the Georgettes, Beverly and the Motorscooters). This was their sole Motown foray.
This is very pretty, innocent girl group fare, inoffensive and almost preposterously wet. The girls’ voices are only adequate, the band drop jarringly out of both time and key at least twice, but the whole thing is so twee it somehow carries itself over the obstacles through sheer force of cuteness. A sickly-sweet musical confection that’s so sugary it all but hurts your teeth, it nonetheless has a certain precocious charm that stops it tipping over into the ranks of the truly awful.
Plus, it’s actually a good, solid tune, Motown’s answer to the Murmaids’ recent hit Popsicles and Icicles, and done in very much the same vein in concept, tune and execution – but all sung in high and astonishingly cutesy sing-song voices. When I’m about to describe a record as “lacking the harder edge of the Murmaids”, you know what sort of territory we’re in here. I half expected it to start floating cartoon hearts and lovebirds out of the speakers.
Much too rich a dessert for my tastes, but I find it difficult to dislike; it’s just so very, very nice, so determined for you to love it, like a puppy that won’t stop following you around until you pet it.
MOTOWN JUNKIES VERDICT
(I’ve had MY say, now it’s your turn. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment, or click the thumbs at the bottom there. Dissent is encouraged!)
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