The Dixie Cups – The Very Best of the Dixie Cups: Chapel of Love

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

Yay! Another fucking compilation. I have no recollection of how I acquired this, but I know it was a physical purchase in a store, probably out of the budget bin. The Dixie Cups started out in New Orleans around 1963 as the Mel-tones, and consisted of sisters Barbara and Rosa Hawkins, and their cousin Joan Marie Johnson. They wound up in New York and signed to Red Bird Records, the label started by songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Their first song – “Chapel of Love” – was their biggest hit, though “Iko Iko” was popular too, and they carved out a nice career, with some line-up changes in later years. Johnson died in 2016.

What I Think of This Album

If you like girl groups at all, you will enjoy this album. Relatedly, if you like Brill Building songwriting, then you will enjoy this album. Most of the songs here are the work of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, but it is unclear who produced any of these tracks (there are at least tenuous connections to Phil Spector but I don’t think he worked on these tracks).

Beyond the obvious, eternal appeal of “Chapel of Love” and the innocent joy of “Iko Iko,” there are several strong tracks included. “People Say” is sweet, with a robust horn section. “Girls Can Tell” is a good song, though I greatly prefer the version by the Crystals (and there is also a version by the Ronettes). “Little Bell” sounds like an attempt to recapture the magic of “Chapel,” which it doesn’t do, but it’s still good.

Better is “You Should Have Seen the Way He Looked At Me,” with a fantastic backing track and lovely harmonies. The disc includes a sassy “I’m Gonna Get You Yet,” with great work from the studio musicians, and the celebratory “Another Boy Like Mine,” featuring some nice saxophone, as well as the busy “Ain’t That Nice.” “All Grown Up” is fairly irresistible, while “No True Love” employs country-ish guitar licks to interesting effect. The rest of the songs here are worth a spin.

The Best Thing About This Album

The production and arrangements.

Release Date

1998

The Cover Art

I wouldn’t call it clever, exactly, but it works, as the designer wisely chose to fully lean into the album title.

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