Dorothy got the group started, back in the 50s. She was doing back-up work, and recruited Earl-Jean and Margie Hendrix, to form the Cookies. There was reportedly a single on the Lamp label as early as '54. The girls won Amateur Night at the Apollo, which got them a deal with Atlantic, resulting in 3 singles with the label. There, they did back-ups for many singers on the Atlantic roster, including LaVern Baker, Ruth Brown and Ray Charles. When Margie Hendrix decided to go with Ray Charles full-time as a vocalist, she was replaced in the Cookies by Margaret Ross. The Aldon connection came about when Neil Sedaka used them on some of his early RCA tracks for back-up, and he recommended them to Carole King. Carole used them on the Aldon tracks she was then doing with Tony Orlando. During these sessions, Don Kirshner suggested that Dorothy cut a solo record. Although the label said a "Nevins/Kirshner Production", it was actually Goffin & King who produced "It's Unbearable" for Dorothy on Columbia in '61 (complete with pic sleeve). A dramatic Goffin/Keller number, the record even got a UK release on Philips. So the Cookies' presence was already established at Aldon before the Dimension label was formed. They did innumerable back-up sessions in the early 60s - two good examples where they feature most prominently are Eydie Gorme's "Blame It On The Bossa Nova" and Mel Torme's "Comin' Him Baby"/"Right Now".
One of the impressive things about the Cookies was that each girl was a potential lead singer, and in combination, their voices blended beautifully. We should maybe mention Little Eva here, as she was often an honorary Cookie too, on the early sides - heard very clearly on "Chains". Often on the Dimension records, the vocals would be shared by all three girls, sometimes underpinned by a trademark interjection from Earl-Jean, e.g "so girl you better shut your mouth", "thirty-six; twenty-one; thirty-fiiiiive" (name those tunes!) Sometimes however, one particular girl would get a lead to herself. Dorothy, for example was practically solo on "Stranger In My Arms", the flip of "Chains" - it was very similar to her Columbia 45, and could well have been done at the same session. Margaret was the main voice on "Softly In The Night" - she also got the lead on "Only To Other People" and what is for many the ultimate Cookies track, "I Never Dreamed". (The Sequel "Complete Cookies" compilation incorrectly credits Dorothy as lead on these tracks) Earl-Jean of course did her own thing on Colpix, but always remained a Cookie. If you want to hear and compare each girl individually, look no further than their original version of "On Broadway", where each girl takes one line at a time in the verses - first Earl-Jean, then Dorothy, then Margaret. Towards the end of their stay at Dimension, it seemed that Margaret was increasingly the preferred vocalist, not only under the Cookies name, but under many of the fictitious group names that Brian mentioned. Margaret had an identifiable trademark sob in her voice that added a sincerity to any song she graced. Witness the impressive list of girl-group classics that she led:- "I Never Dreamed", "Please Don't Wake Me", "Baby Baby I Still Love You", "Make The Night A Little Longer", "One Wonderful Night". Margaret Ross is surely one of the unheralded greats, and yet she was probably the least recognized of the trio, her name never having appeared solo on a label.
Let's also give a mention to Earl-Jean's sister, Darlene McRea, one-time girlfriend of Russ Titleman. Russ shared an apartment with both Darlene and Earl-Jean at one point in New Jersey, and Darlene was one of Ray Charles' Raelets for a while (either she, or Earl-Jean - hard to be sure which - appeared as a Raelet in the '66 UK-produced movie "Blues For Lovers" aka "Ballad In Blue") Darlene had a voice that was almost identical to her sister's and she was responsible for another girl-group gem, "My Heart's Not In It", on Tower. Russ wrote it for her in collaboration with Gerry Goffin, and it sits right up there with the classics mentioned above.
> One of my favorite all-time girl group records is their
Yes Brian, there was reputedly another track cut at Warners, "Mrs Cupid" - it's been seen in Warner's listings, but it's one of those legendary records that nobody seems to have seen, or heard. Presumably still in the vaults.
I wish I knew what happened to them after the 60's heyday. I'm afraid I can't fill in any detail of what happened to them or where they are now. I wonder if Little Eva, who is performing again, kept in touch with any of them. After all, it was Earl-Jean who recommended her for a certain baby-sitting job.....!
The second of the Honeybees records (Some of Your Lovin'/You Turn Me On Boy) isn't the Cookies, although the first one (One Wonderful Night) is. Maybe the girls weren't available for the second record, so G&K used a different set of session singers. When it comes to the number of fictitious group names, I think the Blossoms may have the edge, but that's a whole other post.......!
My reference gives the flip of "Wounded" as "All My Trials." There was a follow-up single put out on WB called "Mr. Cupid (Don't You Call On Me)." Great title, huh? I'd like to hear it someday. (The flipside to this one isn't listed, so maybe one of the sides of their initial WB single was used.) Regarding the pre-Dimension Cookies, here's a segment of the liner notes of "The Aladdin Records Story":
'Another Lamp [Aladdin subsidiary label] group with a rosy future were The Cookies. Formed by Lamp artist Margie Hendrix, The Cookies were a leading studio group backing hundreds of artists through the years. "Don't Let Go" was their first record ... Hendrix also formed a Cookies offshoot group, The Raeletts, to back Ray Charles on most of his hits. [What the liner notes fail to mention that while The Raeletts were backing Ray Charles on Atlantic, that label was also releasing many singles by "The Cookies". Another member, Ethel MacRae, more commonly known as "Earl-Jean," kept The Cookies' name going and scored several hits with them, including "Chains," "Don't Say Nothin' Bad (About My Baby)," and "I'm Into Something Good" (as simply "Earl-Jean"), later a hit for Herman's Hermits. Dorothy Jones rounded out the trio and joined Earl-Jean and Margaret Ross to back Neil Sedaka on "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do."'
I think Earl-Jean's "They're Jealous of Me" (B-side of "Randy") is one of the greatest flipsides ever.
| The Cookies
...a new trio emerged as The Cookies on Dimension, with only McCrea from the first group in its lineup. They did backup vocals for Neil Sedaka, Little Eva, and Carole King, while scoring two Top Ten R&B, one Top Ten, and one Top 20 pop hit in 1962 and 1963. >>> presented by All Music Guide
"The forerunner of Ray Charles' Raelettes, the original Cookies were Margie Hendrix, Ethel "Earl-Jean" McCrea, and Pat Lyles..." >>>presented by History of Rock
| The Cookies
Most people wouldn't know them by name, but every time one listens to "The Loco-motion" by Little Eva, they're listening to the Cookies. This story begins several years earlier, in the 1950's. Recordings for Lamp Records and Atlantic went unnoticed for the most part, then Gerry Goffin and his new wife Carole King produced a record called "It's Unbearable" for one Dorothy Jones. Released on Columbia Records, it was a valiant effort, but ultimately it failed to draw attention to the young singer. Dorothy, however, had made some valuable connections in the music business, including a friendship with Earl-Jean McCree, and Margaret Ross. >>>presented by the Girl Group Chronicles
" This US vocal group trio was formed in the early 50s by Doretta (Dorothy) Jones (b. South Carolina, USA). Early members included Pat Lyles, Ethel 'Dolly' McCrae and Margorie Hendrickse. They were signed by Atlantic Records in 1956 where they recorded four singles, of which 'In Paradise' reached the R&B Top 10. However, the group was better known for session work, and can be heard on successful releases by Joe Turner ('Lipstick, Powder And Paint') and Chuck Willis ('It's Too Late'). The Cookies also backed Ray Charles on several occasions and Hendrickse, now known as Margie Hendrix, left to form Charles's own singing ensemble, the Raelettes ..." >>>presented by Yahoo Music
| The Cookies
Listen to Real Audio and LiquidAudio samples of all the great songs by the Cookies here:.
Tracks include: 1 Chains; 2 Don't Say Nothin' Bad About My Baby; 3 Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys; 4 Will Power; 5 Old Crowd, The; 6 Stranger In My Arms; 7 Softly In The Night; 8 Foolish Little Girl; 9 I Want A Boy For My Birthday; 10 On Broadway; 11 Only To Other People; 12 I Never Dreamed; 13 I'm Into Something Good; 14 We Love & Learn; 15 Randy; 16 They're Jealous Of Me>>>presented by Yahoo Music
|Carole King and Gerry Goffin
An essential part of the Cookies story is of course that of Carole King. With partner/husband Gerry Goffin, she formed one of the most successful songwriting teams of all-time, and their works with groups like the Cookies defined the "girl group" sound. The Carole King and Gerry Goffin page at Spectropop takes a look at Goffin/King, the great favorites of 60s pop, Brill Building and Girl Group enthusiasts everywhere. Also includes full Dimension Records 45 and LP discographies. >>> Spectropop's Goffin/King Page
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