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Claire Chevalier landed a contract with the Barclay label in 1963 under the name Claire Ferval. Whether this was her real name or not is open to debate, as are the “facts” about her life given on the reverse of her record sleeves. If they are to be believed, she was born in August 1939 in Marseille. It’s claimed she made a name for herself in Spain in the early 1960s before returning to France to tour with Les Chausettes Noires and to join the Barclay record label. After her debut disc landed in the bargain bins, she reappeared in 1965 as Claire Chevalier, still with Barclay record label. Our pick, Va!, is taken from her relaunch EP. What is most surprising about the release is that Claire co-wrote all four songs. Indeed, she proved quite the accomplished songwriter over a string of further EPs, but never gained recognition for it.
Il mio mondo è qui
We’re working to publish a full profile for Spanish singer Marisol, with lots of great sound clips, in the coming months. In the meantime, we bring you this terrific track, Il mio mondo è qui. (If you’re a Kathy Kirby fan, you may recognise the tune – this is the original of Kathy’s superb Will I never learn.) Issued in 1965, this song, which, unusually, Marisol performs in Italian, was included on the El cochecito EP. The catchy title track had been written for the singer by the popular beat combo Los Brincos and the release also featured Cabriola, the theme tune of her latest film.
Why can’t I love him
Martha Reeves’s rise from office secretary to global singing sensation is a story that has given many a touch-typist hope over the years. None more so, perhaps, than Golders Green girl Jacki Bond, who swapped her place at the typewriter for one at the microphone at the Millwick Music publishing company. The result – My sister’s boy/Now I know – was leased to Columbia in 1965. The following year, Jacki joined Lionel Segal’s Strike label. Segal wrote both her debut release for the company, Tell him to go away, and its follow up, He say. Hidden away on the B-side of the latter 45, issued in November 1966, was the terrific Why can’t I love him, from the pens of America’s Lori Burton and Britain’s Pam Sawyer. Sadly, however, Jacki was to rejoin the typing pool not long after its release.
Mädchen träumen gern
Milli Vanilli were stripped of their Grammy award for best new artist in 1990 when it was revealed that the duo hadn’t actually sung on their records. Two handsome models had fronted the group publicly while session singers toiled out of sight in the studio. The group was the brainchild of German producer Frank Farian. Twenty-six years earlier, another German producer had a very smiliar idea. His name was Christian Bruhn and the result was Die Sweetles. Vocals came courtesy of Charlotte Marian, Monika Grimm and Peggy Peters, while four models sporting mop-topped wigs promoted the group’s debut disc, Ich wünsch’ mir zum Geburtstag einen Beatle. The song became a top 40 hit in June 1964, but after a second release, Bruhn abandoned the idea. The girls stuck together for one more 45, our pick, Mädchen träumen gern, issued under the name Die Petras.
Any way that you want me
Yes, this is that Faith Brown. Long before she found fame as an impressionist and all-round funny woman, she recorded with her brothers under their family name, The Carrolls. The group remains best loved for the northern soul gem Surrender your love, issued in 1966. But success proved elusive and by the end of the decade, Irene went solo. She changed her stage name to Faith Brown for her relaunch. Signed first to CBS, then Penny Farthing, Regal Zenophone and, finally, Pye, she cut more great tracks. One of our favourites is this 1971 release, Any way that you want me. Written by Chip Taylor and produced by former sometime Ready, steady, go! presenter Michael Aldred, the single should have been a hit. Instead, Faith would have to wait four more years till TV’s Who do you do made her a star.
Yo lo se
If ever you’re in Madrid, check out Discos Babel in Costanilla de los Ángeles. We visited it on a recent buying trip to Spain (well, officially, it was a weekend break but you know how these things go). After searching among the shop’s racks, we included this 45 from Portugal’s Madalena Iglésias, singing in Spanish, among a selection to buy. But when it came to paying, the guy behind the counter threw this record in for free. Maybe he was just being nice, sharing a real treat with a fellow femme pop fan. Or he may have assumed Madalena was a bit staid and that giving away the record was no skin off his nose. Either way, we’re delighted he did. The A-side, Vuelvo 502, was recorded with Los 4 de la Torre, but on this, the flip, Madalena is credited on her own. Unknown sales assistant, we salute you.