Monday, January 22, 2007

Goody Goodies!

The Goodees - Would You, Could You

Stax Records, like many R&B independents, dabbled unsuccessfully with expanding its business into the rock and pop market with two series of releases on its Hip label and a smattering of other releases on Stax, Volt, Enterprise, and Ardent (a joint venture between Stax and John Fry's Ardent Studios). Although quite a few of the recordings, most notably the LPs Big Star and #1 Record by Big Star (Alex Chilton's post-Box Tops project) on Ardent, are considered in retrospect to be very good, the Stax rock project never really took off, and the only significant chart action that Stax received came from the Southwest F.O.B. "The Smell of Incense" and The Goodees, who are pictured above and featured in today's post, which I admit is quite anomalous hopefully not too left-field for this blog.

The Goodees (Sandra Hall, Judy Lowe and Kay Evans) recorded four 45s and one LP (Candy Coated Goodees) for Hip. In many ways the group was doomed to commercial failure from the outset, as their style (referred to very unfairly by one blogger as "Southern White Trash Shangri-Las") was rapidly becoming anachronistic as the '60s came to a close. The group managed, however, to get a minor pop hit in 1968 out of "Condition Red," a Don Davis(!)-produced "Leader of the Pack" derivative that has appeared on quite a few comps, including Rhino's girl groups comp, One Kiss Can Lead to Another. ("Condition Red" is discussed (along with some other Goodees material) in this interesting Scram article.) The Goodees' recorded output, however, is much more diverse than their sole hit would reflect, as many of the people more associated with Stax's soul output (such as Don Davis, Isaac Hayes, David Porter and Joe Shamwell) worked with the group as writers and producers. For example, today's selection (the flip of "Just a Little While") is a stomping piece of Stax northern soul. While the girls do their thing with the Hayes-Porter lyrics, the Stax regulars lay down a great groove and nice horn charts, turning this record from girl group pop to "get down" quasi-soul!

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