The Complete Red Bird Recordings

The Complete Red Bird Recordings

by The Dixie-Cups


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Only three years before the release of this CD, another comprehensive Dixie Cups anthology, Chapel of Love: The Very Best of the Dixie Cups, had appeared on the Collectables label. This has a very slight edge, however, as in addition to including everything from that prior compilation, it adds two more tracks: the fair mid-tempo pop
ocker "Wrong Direction," previously only available on the 1979 import compilation Teen Anguish, Vol. 1, and a less notable mono single version of "Gee the Moon Is Shining Bright." In any case, it's a very good collection, containing the A-sides and B-sides of half a dozen 1964-1965 singles they did for Red Bird, rounded off with less essential odds and ends (including an alternate version of "People Say" and an a cappella alternate version of "Iko Iko"). The Dixie Cups are usually remembered only for "Chapel of Love" and perhaps "Iko Iko," but as this disc demonstrates, there were a good number of solid girl group sides on their other Red Bird recordings. Many of them were written by the estimable Brill Building hitmaking team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, and some are quite good despite almost total obscurity (such as "Little Bell" and "Another Boy Like Mine"); a few other tracks have a strong New Orleans R&B influence. It's one of the better single-artist girl group anthologies, and makes one regret that such a likable, melodic act was unable to record longer for Red Bird, where the group teamed with such a suitable production and songwriting supporting cast.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/13/2002
Label: Varese Sarabande
UPC: 0030206637526
catalogNumber: 066375
Rank: 33035

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The Complete Red Bird Recordings 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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The Dixie Cups, despite their fairly standard 3-girl line-up, hold a number of distinctions in the girl-group era. Their Southern, New Orleans, origin gave their musical style a jazzy edge (magnified by the horn charts often included in their backing arrangements) not heard in the New York bred groups. Further, their timing gave them access to the songs of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich precisely at the time they'd broken free of Phil Spector's production (though they continued to write with him) to work for Leiber & Stoller's Red Bird Records. The confluence of talent created some of the most unique sides in girl-group history. ¶ Leading off this package is the group's debut, Red Bird's debut, and the first #1 hit for both, "Chapel of Love." Having penned this song with Spector, Barry & Greenwich were eager to give it another try. Unissued takes by The Ronettes and Darlene Love had found the song unsuccessfully matched up to Spector's Wall of Sound. Red Bird peeled away the layered backing to focus on the innocent harmonies of the Dixie Cups. Though probably lost on AM listeners of the era, this was a beautifully produced stereo recording that reveals terrific subtleties on CD. ¶ The group's New Orleans roots show up with a vengeance on "All Grown Up." Previously waxed by The Crystals, The Dixie Cups version has a rhythm and piano line reminiscent of Fats Domino, and a horn chart that has the Crescent City written all over it. Similarly, "Iko Iko," with its rhythm-and-bass backing is perhaps one of the era's most unusual top-20 singles. An alternate "a capella" version of "Iko Iko" closes the disc, featuring only the Dixie Cups and the rhythm track. What's really surprising is how little this latter version misses the bass accompaniment of the hit single. ¶ Other treats on this collection include "Gee the Moon is Shining Bright" with its soulful horns and touches of celeste, "Another Boy Like Mine," originally recorded by Barry & Greenwich as The Raindrops, and two versions of the summertime romance, "People Say." The innocence of the latter -- both song and singers -- is incredible. ¶ Varese's collection gathers all of the group's official sides for Red Bird, adding a pair of alternate versions, a mono single mix of "Gee the Moon is Shining Bright," and the rare, "Wrong Direction," previously available only on an import collection. The latter two tracks, plus newly penned liner notes, make this the best Dixie Cups compilation available, besting Collectables' 1999 issue. The remastered sound is tremendous, with surprisingly rich true stereo on most tracks. ¶ After recording these sides, the Dixie Cups' manager abruptly moved them to ABC, where their New Orleans edge was quickly dropped in favor of straight-ahead pop. Their collaboration with Barry & Greenwich ended at the same time, and their recording career folded shortly thereafter. Luckily these superb sides were captured at the group's prime.