The Ronettes – Sixties Girl Group

The Ronettes - Be My Baby (Official Audio)

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Be My Baby – London American 1963

You Baby1965

Baby, I Love You

(The Best Part of) Breaking Up

Walking In The Rain

Ronnie Bennett was the lead singer with The Ronettes one of the most iconic sixties girl groups. She became Phil Spector‘s wife and his appalling treatment of her was documented in her autobiography ‘Be My Baby, how I survived Madness, Miniskirts and Mascara‘.Β  Before that The Ronettes, who were a family group consisting of sisters and a cousin, were recruited by Phil for his ‘Wall of Sound’ treatment and released several songs which are often used as a soundtrack to the early sixties to this day. Ronnie Bennett had a catch and a warble in her voice which could be heart rendering and sound as if she had overcome suffering in her life. Phil Spector was about to give her a whole lot more.

The Ronettes had started out in New York in 1959 but had no recording contract until Phil signed them to record Be My Baby in 1963 which became a huge hit. Ronnie divorced Phil in 1973. The Ronettes’ records were popular at the Twisted Wheel and were revived at the Blue Note club, Manchester.

Ronnie Bennett Obiturary – The Guardian

See PHIL SPECTOR Wall Of Sound

Wikipedia: The Ronettes

The Ronettes – History of Rock and Roll

The Marvelettes

The Marvelettes - Please Mr. Postman (1961)

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Please Mr Postman -UK Fontana 1961

Beechwood 45789 – UK OrioleΒ 1962

Locking Up My Heart – 1963

Your Love Can Save Me

He’s A Good Guy Stateside 1964

As Long As I Know He’s Mine

You’re my Remedy

The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game Too Many Fish In The Sea –Β 1965

I’ll Keep On Holding On – TamlaΒ 1965

Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead

Don’t Mess With Bill –Β 1966

When Your Young And In Love – 1967

My Baby Must Be A Magician – 1968

The Marvelettes had Motown‘s first number one single “Please Mr. Postman” in 1961. “Ill Keep On Holding On” and “You’re my Remedy” were constantly requested tracks making the dance floor heave and although slower, just as popular was “Don’t Mess With Bill” at the Twisted Wheel Allnighters. Of course in the UK and later in the USA it was the Beatles who brought this recording to the main public’s attention, on our scene we derided the Beatles for this! Before they were the Marvelettes they were the Darnells.

Virtually all the tracks listed above were frequentlyΒ  played making the Marvelettes play list a must at Manchester‘s soul clubs and as a result they became one of the most regular Motown groups to be heard. The Marvelettes were definitely one of the best Motown girl groups with a terrific array of superb songs.

Wanda Young was found again by Ian Levine in 1989. She was a street bag lady and an alcoholic. They cleaned her up to record again and feature in the DVD ‘The Strange World Of Northern Soul’. It seems a pity that Berry Gordy, who obviously owed something to his earlier artists like Wanda, could not help her in her years of need.Β Since then she has got things together and has some strong opinions about fake artists taking her rightful royalties (see link below).

“My Baby Must Be A Magician” this one was high on the list of requests from the Mod girls at the Wheel, The Blue Note and all the other clubs in 60’T’s Manchester.

On the later Soul scene – the Northern one; Β Only Your Love Can Save MeΒ and Reaching For Something I Can’t Have, but it comes back to their 1965 Β track “I’ll Keep On Holding On” that gets into The Northern Soul All Time Top 500 at position 475.

Wikipedia: The Marvelettes

Martha And The Vandellas

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas- Nowhere to Run

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In My Lonely Room
The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game
Come and Get These Memories
You’ve Been In Love Too Long –Β 1965
Wild One
My Baby Loves Me
I’m Ready For Love
Jimmy Mack
Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone

One Way Out

No One There

Love Guess Who

Martha And The Vandellas were always on the play list for English Mods. Every track they released got played at the Twisted Wheel. the dance numbers were “HEATWAVE” “DANCING IN THE STREET”, “NOWHERE To RUN”. Slower ones included “My Baby Loves Me” –Β  a real favourite.

Martha Reeves worked as a secretary at Motown. Her second record “Come and Get These Memories” was a success.Β  After doing some backing tracks for Marvin Gaye she formed Martha and the Vandellas. In 1972 she left Motown and signed with MCA.

I just love these songs – everyone of them especial My Baby Loves Me, which had a version done with different lyrics and orchestration by the Stovall Sisters.

As far as Northern Soul is concerned its the ‘B’ Side of “Love Bug Leave My Heart alone” that gets onto that scene at 439 on Kev Roberts Top 500. Yes its very excellent, but so is everything else listed above that we pumped up on our turntables in Manchester clubs in the sixties.

Wikipedia: Martha And The Vandellas

History Of Rock – The Vandellas

Lamp Sisters

The Lamp Sisters - A Woman With The Blues (1968)

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EVERLASTING LOVE – Monument 1968

The Lamp Sisters were the daughters of Bobby Lamp, from Wheelsville. These tracks were regularly played at the Blue Note Club, Manchester, UK in 1968.

Jeanne And The Darlings

Jeanne & The Darlings - Soul Girl (1967)

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SOUL GIRL – 1967
What Will Later On Be Like – 1968

Manchester Blue Note Club favourites – A girls answer to Sam and Dave‘s Soul Man!
And the great “What Will Later On Be Like” was probably mainly heard more at this club than anywhere else at the time as it specialised in a wide and varied play list, including some of the more obscure STAX tracks.

Just listen to What Will Later On Be Like their next release, with superb instrumentation from Booket T. And The MG’s – Fabulous!

Jean and the Darlings Website

The Ikettes


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The female backing vocalists from the Ike and Tina Turner Review

The Ikettes or Ike-Ettes,Β recorded a few numbers in there own right:

I’m Blue (The Gong-Gong Song) on Atco

WHAT’CHA GONNA DOΒ (1966 London American) is probably their best.

I’M SO THANKFUL (1964) – close behind.

PEACHES AND CREAM (with a great harmonica solo).

Played Live at the Twisted Wheel Manchester, and their tracks above (most) got constantly included in the play lists – Blue Note too.


One time members included Jo Armstead and P P Arnold – the line up changed periodically and renewed with younger members.

Honey Cone

The Honey Cone - While You're Out Looking For Sugar

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While Your Out Looking For Sugar – Hot Wax USA 1969
Girls It Ain’t Easy


All female trio started in Los Angeles in 1969 already experienced background vocalists: Carolyn Willis was in the Girlfriends and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans; Edna Wright – Darlene Love’s sister was in The Blossoms and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, and Shellie Clark had been an Ikette.

They were signed to Holland-Dozier-Holland’s new Hot Wax label after they had left Motown over a dispute about royalties and share options that never materialised.

1969 ‘Girls It Ain’t Easy’ became a major USA hit and in the USA RnB had further hits 1971 with ‘Want Ads’ and ‘Stick-Up.’ Also:  ‘One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show’ (what a great title!) and ‘The Day I Found Myself’ .

1973 saw them disband with Edna Wright going solo.

The Gems

The Gems - I'll Be There

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The GEMS started life as THE LOVETTES. They did have two real gems within the group which consisted of Theresa Washum, Minnie Riperton, Jessica Collins, and Dorothy Hucklebee, and their blind piano player, Raynard Miner – who became a song writer for The Dells, Jackie Wilson, Little Milton and Rita Coolidge. He wrote ‘Rescue Me for Fontella Bass and the fantastic Higher and Higher for Jackie Wilson.

The other real ‘Gem’ was Minnie Ripperton.

Their I’LL BE THERE is their Northern Soul hit with that second Soul scene in the UK and gets to 308 on Kev Roberts Top 500.

The Du-ettes

The Du-Ettes - Every Beat Of My Heart

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The Du-Ettes released this slow soulful single first in 1964. It was massive at the Twisted Wheel, massive at The Blue Note clubs in Manchester where the DJs Dave and Dave had imported one each on the USA MAR-v-LUS Label. What better name could there be for a record of such fantastic quality – just MAR-V-LUS and simply One-Derful. This was indeed an astounding Soul classic, constantly requested at All- Nighters.

The ‘B’ Side is SUGAR DADDY. Big at The Blue Note club Manchester in them pre- Northern Soul days on the original Soul scene. In 1965 they released Please Forgive Me. Barbara Livsey became Barbara and the Uniques in the Mid 1970’s. The other Du-Ette was Mary Hayes – they were cousins. Johnny Sayles toured with the Du-ettes and the Five Du-tones in the Five Du-tones revue Mar-V-Lus bus tour.

Kev Roberts on his Top 500 of Northern Soul puts it in at 420 – and amazingly states that the record was ‘initially discovered at Blackpool Mecca in 1971’ WHAT? Well Kev never went to the Wheel, nor The Blue Note so we can forgive the ignorance…

It was a huge player at the Wheel in 12965 and all subsequent years, being re-released on President in 1967 due to demand created in Manchester.

The Du-Ettes –

The Debonaires

Debonairs - Loving You Takes All Of My Time

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Loving You Takes All Of My Time  (1966)

The Debonaires were a Sixties girl singing group from Detroit that originally comprise of Elsie Baker, Dorothy Garland and Joyce Vincent. They were passed on to Motown when Golden World records was sold and eventually became Motown session singers.

The Debonaires - courtesy of
The Debonaires – picture courtesty of