In the early to mid-Sixties, as Rock’n’Roll gripped the western world, it wasn’t just the boys who were kicking up a wild noise in the schools and clubs of their neighbourhood. The ‘Girls’ were at it too!
All female vocal harmony groups had of course been integral parts of the scene for a while, but all female garage bands? Girls with guitars? Drums?
While it’s now widely known that record producers on both sides of the Atlantic would frequently employ the services of session musicians for the recordings, leaving the girls to present the ‘image,’ there were some bands that refused to comply.
The excellent ‘Girls in the Garage’ series of compilations highlights many of these groups, giving them, somewhat belatedly, a wider audience appreciation.
This first post celebrating ‘girls with guitars’ showcases a couple of my personal favourites.
THE CONTINENTAL CO-ETS
Formed in 1963 in Fulda, Minnesota, The Continental Co-ets helped pave the way for many female bands in their city to follow. All teenagers at the time, they were headed by Carolyn Behr on guitar, together with Nancy Hoffman (bass) Carol Goins (guitar) and Vicki Steinman (drums.) Nancy’s sister Mary Jo would later join on keyboards.
Their ‘big break’ came when in 1964, they were challenged by local counterparts, The Vultures, to a ‘battle of the sexes.’ The girls won out and gained invaluable exposure. More importantly, they won financial backing from David Edwards, whose investment paid off when tours around the mid-West and Canada secured them a record deal with the IGL (Iowa Great Lakes ) label.
They managed to release just the one 7″ single, ‘I Don’t Love You No More’ / ‘Medley of Junk’ with a run of 1,000 copies being released. Two subsequent recordings ‘Let’s Live For The Present‘ and ‘Ebb Tide‘ were not backed by their label and in 1967 the band decided to call it a day.
THE GLASS OPENING
The Glass Opening were another female band coming out of Minneapolis. I don’t actually have much information on them, other than they released two singles in 1969.
Their debut, ‘All Those Lies‘ was on the Dondee label, a split 7″ with the band Major Six, which didn’t sell well at all. The follow-up though, this time on the Neworld label, ‘I’m On Your Prey‘ was miles better!
However, it too failed to sell and the band split.
I have to say, I feel this one deserved so much more. It even has a contemporary feel some fifty plus years later.
Again, there’s not by way of background information to this band, but I love this single they recorded for the Gemini label in 1965. Band members Sylvia and Beate were originally from Frankfurt in Germany and had a couple of U.S. labels fighting over their signature. Gemini won, obviously, and scored a minor hit with this, the other side being ‘Stop That Man,’ an equally catchy little tune!