SMART SOUNDS by Colin Bell. Reviewing Jimmy Helms & All About The Girls.


GONNA MAKE YOU AN OFFER…The Complete Cube Recordings 1972-1975.  Jimmy Helms

Its March 1973 and the top three chart positions are filled by Slade, T.Rex and The Faces and we are deep into the Glam Rock era. Then appearing from nowhere is Jimmy with the sublime ‘Gonna Make You An Offer’ up there at number eight. Tragically (in my view) the only ‘hit’ he attained. I say tragically because the mans voice deserves to be heard so much more, and not be just a ‘one hit wonder’. This compilation pulls together all his work for Fly/Cube for the first time and brims with that incredible four octave range. Kicking off with ‘So Long Love’ (his first single) which should have fared much better the Gospel roots Jimmy came from are there in spine tingling form, a great opener. Track three the title track is naturally THE song for which he’ll always be remembered and needs no introduction. The Follow up to GMYAO was ‘Jack Horners Holiday’ which, until listening to this comp some forty odd years later I had largely forgotten. In the same vein as GMYAO (im sure his record company made it so deliberately) should have cemented his chart success but no. However of course hit singles are not the be all and the remaining fifteen tracks (including two previously unreleased) ooze soul with a capital ‘S’. Jimmys take on The Drifters ‘Like Sister and Brother’ is a real gem and Stevie Wonders ‘Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer’ gets a treatment that’s more impassioned than the original and I don’t say that lightly. It’s no ‘covers’ album though Jimmy contributes nine songs proving his talent as a songwriter as well as a hugely unique vocalist. Im very happy this new comp has seen the light of day, if you’ve got an ounce of soul in your body, you’ll be happy too. Enjoy!

ALL ABOUT THE GIRLS (Lost Girl Group Gems of The 1960’s) Various Artists.

Ive always been partial to this genre, who isn’t? The Ronettes, The Crystals, Shangri-Las all featured in my life as a backdrop to growing up in the 60’s.
Well, of course the title of this album does what it says on the tin and gives us 24 tracks of the hundreds of girls trying for their place up there with the aforementioned premier league. That doesn’t mean this comp is second league, there is much to enjoy. I love the two and a half minute vignettes of soap opera’s love lost, love found, girl meets boy, girl breaks up…well you get the picture…The titles of the songs say it all! Daddy Daddy (Gotta Get a Phone in My Room), Its Murder for Roberta, Hard Guy To Please, Poor Little Puppet, Bobby is My Hobby and Popeye Does the Mashed Potatoes!! Priceless! Cod Motown, Doo Wop, Sha la la and doo langs abound. If you ever stood in front of the mirror (girls) with a hairbrush miming this is your album! Lots of fun from an innocent era, sadly lost.

For more information go to colin-head-111x150

Til next time…..Colin

Mick O’Dowd… What a voice!

Tony May… Jimmy went on of course to be a part of the group LONDONBEAT and you can hear more of his amazing vocal talents there. ‘I’ve Been Thinking About You’ was their biggest hit but other songs like ‘A Better Love’ and ‘Katey’ are well worth checking out as is their debut hit, ‘9.AM.’.

Leave a comment