Reviews

Toujours chic! More French girl singers of the 1960s
Ace Records’ compilation series of French female singers of the 1960s – C’est chic!, Plus chic! and, now, Toujours chic! – shows no signs of fatigue. Indeed, this third instalment offers an interesting and entertaining mix of songs, some familiar, some little known. Among the big names featured are France Gall, Françoise Hardy and, unusually, Sheila. Despite being France’s biggest-selling female of the 1960s, the latter is often dismissed for not being quite cool enough. Compiler Mick Patrick has dug out two of her best works for inclusion, however. Less well-known singers include Laura Ulmer, Charlotte Walters and Fabienne. The whole thing comes with detailed sleevenotes – and we get a nod in the thank yous too. All in all, a great compilation. (There is a coloured-vinyl LP format too, also available from Amazon.)

Casino classics: complete collection
Casino Classics was a record label created by Wigan Casino DJ Russ Winstanley and Casino manager Mike Walker in 1978. Over the next couple of years, the label released a string of 45s of new recordings and reissues of original US gems. These were also compiled onto three LPs, which form the basis of this terrific box set. For Brit girl fans, it includes Lorraine Silver’s Lost summer love, Tammy St John’s Nobody knows what’s goin’ on (in my mind but me) and Jackie Trent’s Send her away. There are also a few of the songs that came to divide the northern soul fraternity, such as the Theme from Joe 90. Overall, this is a great set which brings together some of the very best tracks from the northern soul scene in Wigan.

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