NELLA DODDS: This Is A Girl’s Life (Label: Kent)

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NELLA DODDS: This Is A Girl's Life

Nella Dodds is a real soul fan’s soul heroine. Born Donzella Petty-John in Maryland back in 1950, she became a recording artist almost by accident. Travelling to Philadelphia with her uncle’s vocal group for a studio session, Philly legend Frank Virtue heard hers sing; he duly recommended her to Jimmy Bishop who won the 14 year old a contact with Florence Greenberg’s Wand label. Between 1964 and 1966, and working with people like Kenny Gamble, the young songstress recorded just 15 songs which were aimed squarely at the pop/soul singles market that Motown seemed to be mopping up. Indeed Nella’s first big recording was a fine and still well-love version of ‘Come See About Me’ . She tackled other Motown tunes too – notably ‘Honey Boy’ and ‘Whisper You Love Me Boy’ (issued here for the very first time), and when the occasion demanded people like Gamble and Bishop would whip up perfect Motown pastiches like ‘P’s And Q’s’ . Soul collectors will have many of these tunes already via beloved Wand singles, but it’s good to have them collected like this and as a bonus, along with the aforementioned ‘Whisper You Love Me Boy’ there’s two more previously unissued cuts. Coming with a comprehensive essay courtesy of ‘In The Basement’s ‘ David Cole (which interestingly reveals that Nella was an extra in the movie ‘Evan Almighty’), the set’s unmissable for collectors of vintage soul.
(BB) 4/5