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Non è mai tardi
Have we died and gone to heaven? Yes, this is the ultra-rare Italian cover of The Shangri-Las’ Dressed in black, courtesy of Rita Monico. This is one of our most prized purchases of recent months. All the drama of the original is there – and, if anything, Rita piles on more. The song was perhaps an obvious choice for translation. After all, Italian lends itself so perfectly to emotional numbers. Sixteen-year-old Rita, from Milan, issued this on the ARC label in 1966. And with Ennio Morricone providing the orchestral backing, you would be forgiven for thinking this would have given her a big hit. Sadly, not.
Linda Laine and the Sinners
There he goes
Surfin’ USA? Surfin’ FRG, more like. Linda and the boys may be British but they’d settled in the Federal Republic of Germany by the time they came to cut this disc in 1966. Legend has it that Linda was plucked from the factory production line in her home town of Stevenage to join forces with The Sinners. The reality is probably a little less tabloid-friendly, given that she had already fronted another band. Whatever. Linda is loved by Brit girl aficionados for her Low grades and high fever, issued in 1964. However, sales proved a little slow in Britain, due, she said at the time, to competition from the likes of Sandie, Lulu, Cilla etc. So, with The Sinners in tow, she headed off to Germany to join the Hansa label. It’s sometimes claimed they scored a top five hit there with Get a job. They didn’t, but they did cut some great songs, including our pick.
C’est toujours la même chanson
Of the many yé-yé girls in France, Chantal Kelly had one of the better voices and definitely one of the best catalogues of material. Our choice, issued in 1967, was written by Cris Carol. The two had a long association: Cris’s mother was Chantal’s vocal coach and was so impressed by her protégée that she sent a recording of her to the Philips label. Label bosses snapped up the teenage singer – with Cris as her chief songwriter. Some of the top names in the music industry, including Jean-Jacques Debout, Joe Dassin and André Popp, also penned some of her other songs. That’s why it never ceases to amaze us that Chantal Kelly didn’t make it huge.
Pili y Mili
Un chico moderno
We’ve been meaning to bring you this wonderful track for some time. Now, you may be glad to know, it’s become readily available, thanks to the great new compilation ¡Chicas! Spanish female singers 1962-1974, which is available from Amazon.co.uk and elsewhere. (Read our review.) Spanish sisters Mili y Pili were primarily stars of the big screen. Indeed, they never actually released any records in their homeland. Instead, this disc was issued in Mexico in 1968 and the song featured in the film Vestidas y alborotadas. In it, they tell us how they want a man – a modern man, of course. Quite whether either of them ever found one, we have to admit, we simply don’t know.
You’ve gotta believe it
Sometimes as we decide on our six favourite songs of the moment, we try to predict which ones will prove most popular with visitors to this site. We’re not always right, of course. But we’ll be surprised if this 1968 single doesn’t score well this month. South African-born Sharon Tandy came to London in 1964 and joined the Pye label before switching briefly to Polydor and then settling at Atlantic. She cut some material at the Stax studios and recorded with the likes of Booker T and the MGs, Isaac Hayes and Les Fleur de Lys. If you want to know more, check back next month when we’ll publish a profile of the singer with the full story and more great song picks.
Nur die Liebe
The career of young Waltraud was all too brief. The German singer is best known for her 1967 debut 45, Wenn ich nur wüßt’, was ich tu’ ohne dich, her take on Dusty Springfield’s I just don’t know what to do with myself (see our Dusty tribute special). For her follow up, however, she opted for an original track. Well, we say ‘original’, but Werner Last was clearly more than a little influenced by Petula Clark’s My love when he sat down to write this tune. The copycat tactic failed, however, and the record sank into obscurity, followed, after a couple of further releases, by Waltraud. Pity.