- Released: March 22, 2005
- Label: Ace Records UK
Liner Note Authors: Malcolm Baumgart; Mick Patrick.
What can you say about a compilation that follows Rosemary Clooney with Little Eva, and LaVern Baker with Annette Funicello? You can say it is the fourth installment of Ace's entertaining Early Girls series. This volume focuses on chart hits between 1954 and 1964, and isn't afraid to include anyone though most of the artists are straight pop like Patience and Prudence, Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds, and the McGuire Sisters. There are also girl groups (the Cookies, the Essex), unknown R&B singers (Theola Kilgore, Annie Laurie), sweet teenagers (Marcy Jo, Jamie Horton), country crooners (Sue Thompson) and untamed forces of nature (Brenda Lee). The volume strikes a nice balance between well-known artists and obscurities, the highlights of the disc come from both camps. From the former are Brenda Lee's knock-out novelty "Dum Dum," the Cookies candy kissed "Don't Say Nothin' Bad (About My Baby)," Nancy Wilson's " (You Don't Know) How Glad I Am," Patience and Prudence's perky "Gonna Get Along Without You Now"; from the latter are Tracey Dey's silly but fun "Teenage Cleopatra," Theola Kilgore's "The Love of My Man," the Toy Dolls' "Little Tin Soldier" and best of all from a woman who managed to be the paramour of both Ray Charles and Little Jimmy Scott, Mary Ann Fisher's absolutely fierce R&B howler "I Can't Take It." Overall the disc may lean a bit heavily on the orchestras and schmaltz but if you can stand it, Early Girls, Vol. 4 is a fun and sweet trip through an oft-ignored area of American pop. ~ Tim Sendra