Various Artists – ¡Chicas! Spanish Female Singers 1962-1974

January 01, 1970



In a
musical world increasingly populated with innovative and well-conceived record
labels dedicated to re-issuing classic music from here, there and everywhere,
Vampi Soul remains one of the true standard-bearers, an imprint of unassailable
cool and quality. Their latest release does nothing but bolster their status as
a virtual can’t-miss proposition for the more musically adventurous.


The title
of their latest collection, ¡Chicas! Spanish Female Singers 1962-1974, spells out the parameters of what to expect, but in no way prepares you for the
wealth of  material spread over 24
exceptionally well chosen numbers. They cover a lot of stylistic territory,
from big beat, pop and rock & roll to Latin soul, psychedelia &
R&B, most of it more or less under the loose umbrella of the European naive
pop music movement ye yé. Yes, this is definitely pop, all of it more or
less radio ready, indicative of the diversity that the 1960s and early 1970s
radio offered.


So. Where
to even start? Well, there’s the covers of some of the hits of the day,
including Sonia’s garage-rocking version of the Stones “Get Off My Cloud”
(“Aqui En Mi Nube”), Fresia Soto’s fabulous Latin R&B version
of  “Unchain My Heart” (“Desencadena Mi
Corazon”), Los Stop’s Lation soul version of the Four Tops Motown classic
“Reach Out I’ll be There” (“Extiende Tus Brazos”) and Laura Casale’s sassy take
on the 60s pop hit “The More I See You.” It also features pop-psych numbers
like Los Que Vivimos’ super-charged “Contrapunto,” Los Hippy-Loyas’ cinematic
psychedelic oddity “Love, Love, Love” and the amazing “Le Maquina Infernal” by
the duo Vainica Doble. Straight up pop is well represented by numbers from
Tania Velia, Las Chic, Los 3 Sudamericanos and others, as are more upbeat, big
beat and rock numbers by Margarita Sierra, Pili y Mili, Marta Baizan, Lorella
con Los Shakers and more.


¡Chicas! comes complete with a booklet of notes and photos for each
of the acts, putting them all in a collective perspective. It also fills in the
big picture a bit as far as the challenges that faced every one of these acts
in the politically repressive era of Franco-era
Spain that they
were recorded in. These were not easy times in Spain; the absolute, unrestrained
joy and vitality that bursts off of every track is even more remarkable given
the generally repressed culture that produced them. But that’s perfect, isn’t
it: a cadre of incredibly vital, talented and attractive women singers working
their way around the margins of a virtual police state while Johnny Law stood
by flummoxed by pop and youth culture, hearing the beginning of the end for
them pouring out of radio and beaming in on TV. No doubt some of these same
coppers and soldiers were fans and proud of the local girls making good. Who’s
to say that some of the music in this collection didn’t help turn the tide and
pave the way for the incredibly vital culture of Spain to reassert itself in the
modern world? If you are a believer in the possibility of music as a harbinger
of social change, here’s a wealth of material to both bolster the argument and
simply enjoy.



DOWNLOAD: “Aqui En Mi Nube,” “La Maquina Infernal,” “Johnny,” “No Te
Acuerdas De Mi,” “Desencadena Mi Corazon,” 19 more. CARL HANNI

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