One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found
Phil Spector's legendary "Wall of Sound" is the inspiration for this massive, engrossing collection of early-'60s girl groups. The record producer's best-known sides are absent, but it's amazing to hear how creatively energizing his hits were during a brief period usually disparaged as a downtime in "rock's maturity." Among the standard swooning sob stories born of '50s doo-wop and the Brill Building lurk tons of unexpected genre benders and future famous names (Cher, Brian Wilson, Jimmy Page), with huge harmonies and kooky sound effects at every turn. Rousing R&B and garage rock sit alongside string-laden epics, spurned soul sisters and freaky novelties galore. Thankfully, Rhino has resisted the urge to pad this collection with ballads or the obvious hits, preferring obscure tunes that defy the eyelash-batting innocence of the genre's stereotype such as Shirley Matthews' snotty "Chico's Girl." One Kiss is primarily a fun romp (wrapped in a spectacular vintage-hatbox design with a 201-page booklet). The packaging is fetching, but the sounds underneath display the wide range of inventive attitudes that has reverberated from Blondie to the B-52's, the Go-Go's to drag-queen DJs, Neko Case to Britney, Beyoncé and beyond.