Masthead

Our pick of the pops, January 2009

Catherine Alfa

Tu es pris au piège

If the name’s unfamiliar but you think you’ve seen the face somewhere before, that’s because young Catherine had more stage names than most of us have had hot dîners. (OK, that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point.) She is, arguably, better known amongst femme pop fans for her later incarnation as Charlotte Leslie. Our choice is taken from her debut disc, issued in 1963 on the AZ label. It wasn’t a hit, but no matter, we love her all the same – and we’ve just published her full biography, with loads more great song clips.

 

Barry St John

Tell Mama

This track is taken from Barry St John’s one and only LP, According to St John, from 1968. Here, Glaswegian Barry – or “the pretty kitty from the gritty city”, as the sleeve notes had her – takes on Etta James’s Tell Mama. The album also included the singles Cry like a baby and By the time I get to Phoenix, as well as a number of credible versions of other R ‘n’ B numbers. (Message for John who contacted us last month about Barry: Please get in touch again – your email address must have been wrong, as our replies bounce back.)

 

The Supremes

Jonny and Joe

This month, in honour of the 50th anniversary of Motown, we’re listening to the results of the time when Detroit’s dreamgirls went deutsch. Jonny and Joe is taken from the second of two German-language 45s recorded by Diana, Mary and Florence. On both discs, translations of US chart toppers are tucked away on the B-sides of original (and decidedly average) German material. The first contained a version of Where did our love go, and here the girls have a bash at Come see about me. The move gave them a top 20 hit, so maybe bosses at CBS knew what they were doing after all.

 

The Angeliques

Sunshine boy

Swedish girl group the Angeliques were formed from Gothenburg in 1965, though it was several years before the record-buying public took any notice of them. This song, issued in 1968, proved a top 20 hit for the girls. German fans may be more familiar with a version recorded by Greek-born Vicky a year earlier, though the Angeliques’ take on the song is groovier. The group’s line up changed over the years, before the girls finally went their separate ways in 1971. (If you’re into Scandinavian girls, you might like the Wang Dang Dula site.)

 

Gigliola Cinquetti

Zero in amore

For us, Gigliola Cinquetti recorded only two decent songs: this one and her 1974 Eurovision song contest entry, Si (which finished second to some group called Abba – wonder what happened to them). But Italy – and the rest of Europe – would disagree with us, it seems. The young teen shot to international fame in 1964 when she won the Eurovision with Non ho l’eta. A string of saccharine successes ensued. Our choice is taken the B-side of La pioggia, a song that both she and French yé-yé girl France Gall performed at the 1969 San Remo festival.

 

Conchita Velasco

Chica ye-yé

This song helped define the Spanish ye-yé sound. It was a big hit for actress-cum-singer Concha (aka Conchita) Velasco in 1965, and is still closely associated with her today. (Rosalía also recorded the song.) It was taken from the soundtrack of the film Historias de la televisión, in which Conchita starred. Born in 1939, she had appeared in her first film in 1954, and went on to star in dozens more over the following decades. Sadly, singing was only ever really a sideline for the cinematic star.

0 Bar small Hear Catherine Alfa Tu es pris au piège Hear Barry St John Tell Mama Hear The Supremes Jonny and Joe Hear The Angeliques Sunshine boy Hear Gigliola Cinquetti Zero in amore Hear Conchita Velasco Chica ye-yé

Catherine Alfa

Tu es pris au piège

Barry St John

Tell Mama

Supremes Jonny Joe

The Supremes

Jonny and Joe

Angeliques Sunshine boy

The Angeliques

Sunshine boy

Gigliola Cinquetti

Zero in amore

Conchita Velasco Chice ye-ye

Conchita Velasco

Chica ye-yé

Our pick of the pops

Barry St John - According to St John Catherine Alfa - Tu es pris au piège Gigliola Cinquetti: La pioggia