I'm enjoying the heck out of Helen Shapiro's EMI comp, "A's B's & EP's", a comp put together with the collector in mind. I know I've gotten flak before for liking her, (well, mainly from chief music hater numero uno), but really, as far as pre-Beatles UK pop goes, she's the one! She may not have the soulful delivery of a Dusty Springfield, but you still get some of the brightest, most spirited orchestral pop of the early 1960s - vibrant singles with delirious, swirling strings and zestful ye ye girl backing. These are singles that soar, as bouncy and fluffy as a bouffant hairdo. Is it naive, sure it is. But better the sweet naivete of a puff-skirted Helen Shapiro than the smug cynicism heard in some of the "cooler" pop that came later. Oh, and did I mention it's all in mono?
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