Personnel: Jackie DeShannon (vocals).
Liner Note Author: Sam Szczepanski.
The Murmaids' lone hit, "Popsicles and Icicles," is one of the classic girl group singles, a Southern Californian confection whose effervescent innocence seemed unaffected. Naturally, there was calculation in its construction. David Gates, later to achieve fame as the de facto leader of Bread, penned the song and the production is by Kim Fowley, a notorious merchant of Sunset Strip sleaze. They weren't the only Hollywood prime movers involved in the Murmaids. Sisters Carol and Terry Fischer crossed paths with Mike Postil, who'd later achieve fame as soundtrack composer Mike Post, and they sang on his demos, eventually adding Sally Gordon as a third voice. Post encouraged Fowley to employ the vocal trio as studio singers and, eventually, the producer turned them into a recording act of their own once he heard Gates' original. "Popsicles and Icicles" turned out to be the group's only hit but it wasn't for lack of trying. Over the next few years, they cut a lot of material, usually produced by either Fowley or Ruth Conte, who owned the group's label Chattahoochee. Perhaps the Murmaids' lack of success could be chalked up to the travails of Chattahoochee, which never was a major indie, but the trio's sparkly innocence was just slightly out of date in the mid-'60s, seeming like a relic from the turn of the decade. As the years fade away, this seems like less of a liability and this collection of 21 sides -- all of the group's recordings for Chattahoochee, several of which make their digital debut here -- charms in how everybody involved tried to push the girl group into folk-rock and sunshine pop. Not all of the ideas work -- the novelty "Bull Talk" is too cute by half -- but there are some fun surprises here, including a 1968 cover of Traffic's "Paper Sun," the neo-Spector rush of "Don't Forget," Gates' chiming "Heartbreak Ahead," and a surf-rock rendition of "How Do You Do It" credited to the Lady-Bugs. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine