Josie Cotton had not crossed my mind for almost a quarter of a century. Two of her early albums are part of my vinyl collection and found their way to my turntable with some regularity in the early eighties. Convertible Music (1982) and From The Hip (1984) can be best classified as catchy country/rock and they produced a couple of minor hits, “He Could Be The One” and “Jimmy Loves Maryanne.”
Her greatest claim to fame—or infamy to be more correct—was the release of “Johnny, Are You Queer.” It featured controversial lyrics which seem tame by today’s standards, but in 1981-82 it was banned in a number of countries and limited in its airplay in the United States. It did become a huge hit in Canada, though, reaching number two on their singles charts. If you want to see her singing this tune in all its glory check out the old movie Valley Girl.
Josie Cotton has always taken the musical road less traveled. She is an excellent vocalist but her choice of material has, at times, bordered on the eclectic and her latest release, Invasion Of The B-Girls, certainly falls into that category. She has chosen to release an album of obscure movie tracks, none of which ever came close to an Oscar ceremony. Filmmaker John Waters, who produced the cult movies Pink Flamingos and Hairspray, summed this album up best in the liner notes where he wrote, “Josie Cotton may be singing B-list songs from C-list movies, but she’ll always be an A-list singer in my book.”
A song is a song even if it comes from such films as Ghidorah, The Three Headed Monster, Girl In The Gold Boots, Green Slime, and Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. It may all appear odd but Cotton manages to transform these lost diamonds in the rough—the songs not the movies—into a very listenable and ultimately enjoyable album.
Highlights include “Goodbye Godzilla,” “Black Klansman,” “Run Pussy Cat,” and “Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls,”
Invasion Of The B-Girls is a fun ride though some of the kitschiest songs ever to appear in film. Her interpretations are at times tongue-in-cheek but always respectful. I recommend buying the album, but if you love your sanity avoid the movies.