Master Tape Records
There were so many girl-groups and so many one hit wonders, so many curios – there’s a graveyard of alternative 60s pop gems, maybe several. And every now and then something gets a look in again – or for the first time – due to placement in a Quentin Tarantino movie soundtrack or on a hip TV show or ad campaign or because a DJ favours it.
I’m not sure quite what sparked the love for The Tammys but it could have been any one of those things.
Their 45s were obscure – and there were never many, but finding them in one place almost never occurred, until collectors and mad-fans in the early 2000s went looking and started assembling mixtapes and compilations.
Here’s the latest. It’s basically a Greatest Hits EP. “Complete Recordings” totalling nine songs and running in at just over 21 minutes. That’s fantastic though. This is easily-digestible pop that has huge charm.
The Tammys made these songs in 1963/1964 when there was a boom for this stuff – and then they were gone. Like so many of the vocal groups from that time they were comprised of a pair of siblings and a family friend. Gretchen and Cathy Owens, joined by Linda Jones were best known for Egyptian Shumba, a mad set of shrieks atop a catchy-af wee tune; perfect garage-rock fodder for those hip-hip vinyl comps you find al over these days.
There’s something just a little off – and a lot fantastic – about this trio. Their music doesn’t sound like the other girl groups. Maybe it sounds like the sounds The Shaggs thought they were making.
Part of Lou Christie’s stable, The Tammys would record BVs on other records – and that became the gig as much as being a group ever did. For the last 20 years or so you’ve been able to find these songs – and this is just the latest version of a hits package – but if this is your introduction enjoy. It’s the sort of curio you could add to any music fan’s collection. Gospel, doo-wop, rock’n’roll – they weren’t the leaders of any pack but if you want some cool tunes to spin you need The Tammys. I love their quirky harmonies, I love some of the songs (Take Back Your Ring is the highlight for sure) and I love imagining them on John Waters’ stereo. That’s enough for me.
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