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Music Review: Various Artists – The Girls From Petticoat Junction: Sixties Sounds

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Join me gentle readers as we travel back in time to the Shady Rest Hotel, located between the towns of Hooterville and Pixley. Petticoat Junction was a television series, 1963-1970, and ran for 222 episodes. The show included a quirky cast of characters, including the beautiful Bradley Girls. While several actresses played the girls during the show’s existence, the best known, and the subjects of this review, were Linda Key Henning as red haired Betty Jo Bradley, Lori Saunders as brunette Bobbie Joe Bradley, and Meredith MacRae as blonde Billie Joe Bradley.

As a young teenager, the show was a regular on my weekly television viewing schedule. It didn’t even bother me that the three daughters used to skinny-dip in the water tower. It was all good until at about the age of 16, I realized that women like Grace Slick also walked the earth, and so it was a fond goodbye to the Bradley girls. Still, for a few years they occupied my, and millions of American males’ attention.

Many times, singing was incorporated into the show, and it was thought that the three girls might have the potential of becoming a successful singing act. They began performing in night clubs and fairs, and in 1968 signed a recording contract. Several singles were recorded and released, and a few tracks were stored away for future use. The singles received no success and plans for a full album were scrapped. The music has sat in the vaults until now.

The Girls From Petticoat Junction: Sixties Sounds, released this fall through the Real Gone Music reissue label, has resurrected those songs. All six of their singles that were previously issued are present here, as are some previously never released songs. As a bonus, the original theme song of the series, sung by Curt Massey, is also included.

All three women could sing and were able to produce acceptable harmonies. They can best be described as a 1960s girl pop group, one that wisely kept most the material fairly simple and light, except for their rendition of The Beatles’ “Rain.”

Overall, the music was nostalgic, but in no way was it musically essential to the era in which it was recorded. Songs such as “Wheeling West Virginia,” “Up Up & Away,” “Goodbye Love,” and “Thirty Days Hath September” were good and all part of the innocent late 1960s, but came out after the summer of love (1967). As such, and with the series coming to an end, it and the Petticoat Junction girls quickly disappeared into history.

Sixties Sounds is a walk down memory lane for fans of the Petticoat Junction show and era. So climb aboard the Hooterville Cannonball train, relax at the Shady Rest Hotel, and listen to some music from a long gone era.

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