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Ballade pour un pourquoi
We must thank regular Ready steady girls! visitor Fane for bringing this track to our attention. Cosette’s Les cheveux dans les yeux and L’idéalisation often crop on French girl compilations but this terrific track has always been overlooked. We’re hoping that including it in this month’s Pick of the pops will somehow rectify that injustice. The song is taken from the singer’s sole EP from the period. She would return to recording in later years, however, and in 2008, she cut her first album, C’est re-moi. That it should take so many years is somewhat ironic. She had originally been lined up to sing with Frankie Jordan on Panne d’essence. When her father said no, Sylvie Vartan stepped into her shoes and went on to become one of France’s most successful female singers of all time.
Londoner Dany Chandelle’s big break came when she answered an advert that had been placed in the music press by German-born producer Mark Wirtz. He’d set up his own production company, Colinio, and leased songs to other labels. The result for young Dany was a one-off single with Columbia in 1965, credited to Dany Chandelle with The Ladybirds (the group who provided backing vocals). The original of this song had been recorded by little-known US singer Bernice Swanson. But it is this version – with its huge production – that has achieved longevity, becoming a crowd pleaser on Britain’s northern soul scene.
Per quanto io ci provi
There’s something about the name Titti Bianchi that makes us think that its owner should be a drag queen by night and an accountant called Derek by day. Sadly, our research has failed to find any evidence to back up this theory. Instead, young girl Mary Attilia grew up in the spa town of Salsomaggiore in Emilia-Romagana, northern Italy. In the summer of 1966, under the adopted name of Titti Bianchi, she debuted at a song festival for unknown artists organised by Teddy Reno. When she won the event, it became more or less inevitable that she would go on to take part in a string of further festivals. Indeed, our pick is her entry to the Rose festival that took place in October that year. Titti has released more than a dozen albums over the years and is still active today.
There’s more than a dash of camp to this, Angie Cat’s first musical outing, entitled, er, Angie Cat. In the mid-1960s, at the age of 21, Angie left her British homeland for the delights of Madrid. She set herself up as a shopkeeper, running a stylish boutique – also called Angiecat – just off the city’s central Plaza del Sol. She soon became in demand as a commentator on all matters of hip London style for Spanish newspapers, TV and radio. Angie says she only made this record to stop her friends in the music business from nagging her into the recording studio. Cut in 1969, its Spanglish lyrics and catchy tune have now ensured it something of a cult status. Despite never having intended to become a singer, Angie ended up releasing further records and performing in the Spanish version of the rock musical Hair. She now divides her time between Andalucia in Spain and Oxfordshire in England. Huge kudos to RSG regular contributor Jens for finding this gem.
Was ich für dich tu’
Jette is Danish doll Jette Ziegler, singing here in German. The Scandinavian girls were extremely successful in Germany in the 1960s. In particular, singers such as fellow Dane Gitte, Norway’s Wenche Myhre and Sweden’s Siw Malmkvist scored hit after hit. We won’t pretend that all of their material was great – much of it was über-catchy Schlager of the worst kind. Perhaps that explains, then, why this great track bombed. Here, Jette performs a translation of Ramsey Kearney’s country-styled But whatcha gonna do, retitled Was ich für dich tu’, which she issued as the flip to Der Sommer geht, a song also cut by Conny Froboess.) Jette turned up a couple of years later, in 1966, on the Telefunken label, but again success proved elusive.
I stand accused (of loving you)
Here’s another terrific cover version for you, courtesy of Liverpudlian sister act Satin Bells. The trio – identical twins Carol and Sue Bell and their sister Jean – started out professionally as The Three Bells in 1960. By 1968, they’d reinvented themselves as Satin Bells for their new contract with the Pye record label. They’d always excelled at blue-eyed soul, so it shouldn’t have come as a great surprise when they began cutting versions of black American girl group material. Among these was a version of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas’ Sweet darlin’. But for us, it’s this B-side of that single, a first-rate take on The Glories’ I stand accused of loving you, that gets us up on the dance floor. Turns out we aren’t alone in this – in some countries the record was flipped to make this the A-side.