Music » Local Music

The Red Bird Girls - Very First Time in True Stereo: 1964-1966 (Real Gone Music)

Reissue unearths long-forgotten coulda-shoulda girl-group



Real Gone Music is a newly minted reissue label dedicated to unearthing the long-forgotten and coulda-shouldas (from the Petticoat Junction Girls to the Mark Lindsey singles), and they're doing it up like obsessive music geeks. 

This comp heaves with girl-group beauty; an essential rundown of Leiber/Stoller's indie Red Bird and Blue Cat labels, which, in '64, followed the Philles and Scepter labels into high school hallways and girl-group garages.  

From the pop tart buzz of the Goodies "The Dum Dum Ditty" to Evie Sands' hit of Chip Taylor's power-pop masterpiece "I Can't Let Go" (oh, her unheralded soul-hep voice) to Ellie Greenwich's "Call Me His" (written by some kid upstart called Neil Diamond), this collection of ear-benders — including songwriters and producers Jeff Barry, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Shadow Morton and others — smells of biker leather, bubblegum and pure, gather-'round-the-microphone harmonies. 

The Butterflys' "I Wonder" is, for example, a centerpiece: Its low-chirping horns, Phil Spector (he's a co-writer) twists, soaring key-change and a bleating vocal that's so full of absolute longing it's impossible to dismiss this as disposable pop of a genre and era that manufactured and pimped distaff innocence for chart hits. Of 20 songs, most transcend genre.  

All remixed with a judicious ear by Ron Furmanek from recently discovered three- and four-track master tapes, the disc sports a 16-page booklet, song-by-song factoids, and a colorful gatefold sleeve. An essential collection (with bonus studio chatter that's all gold) for anyone lipstick-tracing the early to mid-'60s.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.