Where I dig into something I’ve not heard before, from the reviews section of old Mojo Magazines, on an irregular basis.
The Complete Cookies
1994 – Sequel Records
This is a wonderful compilation. 12 tracks covers the complete As and B sides of this 60s girl group The Cookies. Four tracks by Earl Jean in solo mode round it out to 16. The Cookies were not on a big label like Stax or Motown and would probably be extremely obscure if not for their association with Carole King and Gerry Goffin. They were lucky enough to first sing some of the greatest pop hits.
I only really knew of The Cookies from that association, and their later work with Ray Charles. They are included on a couple of comps and box sets I own. So it’s great to have songs I know from later versions in original form. The classic ‘Chains‘, ‘On Broadway‘ and solo Earl Jean’s original of ‘I’m Into Something Good‘. I particularly love ‘The Old Crowd‘.
Ten of the songs here are King/Goffin compilations – making it an essential part of the Carole King discography. Goffin contributes to the other two, and the others are by other Brill Building stalwarts. It’s a tour de force of songwriters. It turns out that King continued to give Earl Jean financial support after her career ended.
I don’t know if this is an obvious point, but this was the first rush of teenage music from the girl’s point of view. It’s all about teenage concerns and a lot of romance. The mystery of the boys. A lot of it is pretty chaste – hugging and kissing. But the passion underneath – it’s pretty fiery.
These funny old regional girl groups. There are so many of them, and in many ways they caught into a fad. The Cookies didn’t even get an album out of it. Like so many more fads to come, be it Nuggets, Punk, Disco, Brit Pop, Grunge, New Rock etc. The Cookies were not one of the greats, and were not signed to one of the big labels. So they are a bit of an also ran, and there are lots of those. Who knows what treasures are hidden amongst those discount discs on obscure labels.
The production here is actually pretty good. They could sing, and sing with character. It hasn’t dated too much, and the songs remain solid. It’s a brisk listen – no filler and half a dozen absolute classics. A great compilation.