Thursday, December 21, 2023

The Fascinations - Girls Are Out to Get You! The Complete Studio Recordings [2024]


The Fascinations - Girls Are Out to Get You! The Complete Studio Recordings [2024].

The Fascinations were an American pop vocal group most active in the mid-1960s. They are best remembered for the Curtis Mayfield-penned hit "Girls Are Out to Get You", a minor pop hit in the US in 1967 that was re-released in the UK in 1971, where it reached the top 40.

Background and chart success

"Girls Are Out to Get You" is a song and single by American soul group, The Fascinations.

Released in the US in 1967 on Mayfield's own Mayfield Records label. It features Donny Hathaway on piano and is comparatively short at 1 minute and 58 seconds. Motown’s Mike Terry played baritone saxophone on the song.

It peaked at 92 in the Billboard Hot 100. In 1971 it became popular on the UK's Northern Soul music scene and was re-released on the Sue label. It was later re-released again, on the Mojo label, a subsidiary of Polydor Records, responsible for the re-release of several 1960s soul music songs in the early 1970s including Tami Lynn's "I'm Gonna Run Away from You" and The Formations, "At the Top of the Stairs". This time it reached 32 on the UK charts staying for six weeks. It was The Fascinations only UK hot single.

The Fascinations had disbanded as a group in 1969. Such was the success of this song that they reformed to take advantage of their new-found success in the UK. Touring the country, often performing in front of thousands of fans, "Girls Are Out to Get You" provided the group with their last taste of success before they again disbanded.

Early years (1960-1963)

The Fascinations were a girl group with a dazzling family tree, a distinctive sound, and a hook-up with one of the great artist-producers of the 1960s - yet, in one of the great mysteries of the soul music boom of the mid-decade, they never made it in America, but sold lots of records in England.

Detroit in the late '50s was a city seething with musical activity - Robert West's LuPine label, Berry Gordy's embryonic Motown, and the immensely successful VeeJay label were just the tip of a pop culture iceberg. One of the groups trying to get a foothold on success in those days was an all-girl outfit called the Sabre-ettes, who were in the market for some new members. Two co-founders, Shirley Walker and Martha Reeves, were doing the auditions, and they brought gospel singers Joanne and Bernadine Boswell into the lineup, which quickly expanded by one more slot with the addition of Fern Bledsoe.

The resulting quintet was rechristened the Fascinations. Martha Reeves left the group in 1960 for her own path to stardom, and the Fascinations were permanently a quartet. Two years later, they made the acquaintance of Fred Cash and Sam Gooden, two members of the Impressions. They, in turn, introduced the Fascinations to Curtis Mayfield, who got the group signed to ABC-Paramount, where they released a trio of singles (written and/ or produced by Mayfield over the next year that failed to sell in significant numbers.

ABC-Paramount lost interest in the Fascinations, but Mayfield never did - his success in 1966 with the Windy C label enabled him to start the Mayfield label, and to sign the Fascinations. The group's first Mayfield release, "Say It Isn't So," only got to number 47 on the R&B charts, but their second, "Girls Are Out to Get You," did crack the lower reaches of the pop charts, while ascending to number 13 as an R&B hit. It also became the group's first release in England, on EMI's Stateside label (ironically, also the company's outlet for Motown). The quartet never scored very high in America, despite a switch to ballads, with which they were far more comfortable - it seemed as though they were never there with the right song at the right time. By 1969, they'd decided to call it quits as far as recording, and their history on vinyl came to an end.

The irony was that, in England, their records continued to sell. "Girls Are Out to Get You" became immensely popular in British dance clubs of the Northern Soul scene, and was reissued by the Sue Records label, for which it sold steadily. In 1971, the song charted in the U.K. when it was reissued yet again, this time on the Mojo imprint of British Polydor -- the number 32 placement, with heavy airplay, even led to a reunion and a British tour by the quartet - it was a brief, welcomed moment in the spotlight, before thousands of adoring fans from one corner of the globe, even if it wasn't their corner, and made the nine or ten years of work seem sweeter. Unfortunately, Mojo's efforts to coax similar sales out of their other Mayfield releases came to nothing, and the members soon returned to their post-career activities.

The Fascinations weren't much more than an odd footnote in the history of Detroit-based R&B, in terms of their sales impact and their early history as Martha Reeves' first group. They never recorded steadily or successfully enough to justify an album release during the time they were together, but they turned in some delightful and intensely passionate (and playful, in the case of "Girls Are Out to Get You") soul performances. They deserved (and, for a moment in England, got) the kind of recognition and treatment that seemed to come easily to a lot of Motown-signed girl groups of the period.

The group was formed in 1960 by Shirley Lawson and Martha Reeves, who originally planned on calling their group the Sabre-ettes. Sisters Joanne and Bernadine Boswell joined the group through an audition process. Fern Bledsoe joined the group right around the time they changed their name to the Fasinations.

Before the group got its chance at recording, in late 1960 founding member Reeves left over disagreements with the other members. Reeves went on to re-join her previous group, the Del-Phis. This group signed to the Motown Records label, and later became Martha & The Vandellas. Bernadette Boswell would be the Fas(c)inations' lead singer from this point on.

In late 1962, the Fasinations were signed to the ABC-Paramount label. There they met Curtis Mayfield (of the Impressions) who wrote and produced their first single, "Mama Didn't Lie", a track he had previously cut with Jan Bradley. While the track was initially issued as by the Fasinations, the group quickly changed their name to the more conventionally spelled "The Fascinations", and subsequent pressings of this single (and all future singles) were accordingly credited to the Fascinations.

Bradley's version of "Mama Didn't Lie" had been a regional hit, but had not broken nationally when the Fascinations recorded their version. However, Bradley's recording of "Mama" began to take off nationally just as the Fascinations released their record. As it turned out, Bradley's recording of "Mama Didn't Lie" entered the Billboard chart in the first week of 1963, while the Fascinations version of the same song debuted in the "Bubbling Under" charts one week later. Bradley took "Mama Didn't Lie" all the way to number 14 while the Fascinations' version stalled at number 108. The group then followed up with "Tears in My Eyes", which flopped, and ABC dropped them from their label roster.

Hiatus (1964-1965)

The Fascinations continued to rehearse and make club appearances over the next few years, but also had to take on other jobs to make ends meet. Bledsoe worked as a secretary at Motown Records, and also sang lead on two 1964 singles by obscure girl-group the Aprils (the second credited to "Fern and the Aprils").

White, under the name "Shirley Lawson", also issued two obscure solo singles during these years.

Return to recording (1966-1968)

After a gap of a few years, the Fascinations found themselves back in the studio with Curtis Mayfield - when Mayfield started his Mayfield Records label in 1966, one of the first acts he signed was The Fascinations. Their first single for that label was "Say It Isn't So"/"I'm So Lucky", taking its style from Motown. While the record did not make the Hot 100 chart, it was a hit on the R&B chart, eventually landing in the Top 50.

Mayfield also wrote and produced their next single, "Girls Are Out to Get You", which was their most commercially successful song: it reached number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100, and on the R&B chart it climbed to number 13.

In mid-1967 the group's third Mayfield single, "I'm In Love," produced in similar fashion to "Girls Are Out to Getcha", became the group's third Top 50 single on the R&B chart. However, the group's follow-up release of "Hold On"/"Such a Fool" went virtually unnoticed, as did the Fascinations' final release on the Mayfield label, "Just Another Reason"/"O.K. for You". The Mayfield label closed up shop with this release and Curtis Mayfield would have more success with his next label, Curtom.

In early 1968, label-less and with bookings for live appearances dwindling, the Fascinations decided to retire.

UK success, and a brief reunion (1971)

The group reunited briefly in 1971, after their 1967 single "Girls Are Out to Get You" became popular in England as a part of the Northern soul movement. Upon re-issue on the Polydor Records subsidiary Mojo label, "Girls Are Out to Get You" reached number 32 in the UK Singles Chart in 1971, and the Fascinations took advantage of this unexpected resurgence in their popularity and reformed for their first overseas tour. They have not reformed since.


Bernadine Boswell (Smith)

Joanne Boswell (Leavell)

Fern Bledsoe

Martha Reeves (early 1960 only)

Shirley Lawson

Never before have the Fascinations complete studio recordings from ABC-Paramount and Mayfield Records been compiled all in one place in chronological order. The first four tracks are extremely rare vinyl rips having never been officially released on CD.

This compilation features every single A and B-side recorded between 1962 and 1968, plus 10 bonus Mayfield Singers/Mayfield Players instrumental versions making a superb 72 minute, 27 track CD.








Track lists

01 The Fascinations - Mama Didn't Lie (ABC-Paramount Single A-Side 45-10387) (1962) 2:10

02 The Fascinations - Someone Like You (ABC-Paramount Single B-Side 45-10387) (1962) 2:24

03 The Fascinations - Tears in My Eyes (ABC-Paramount Single A-Side 45-10443) (1963) 2:11

04 The Fascinations - You Gonna Be Sorry (ABC-Paramount Single B-Side 45-10443) (1963) 2:03

05 The Fascinations - (Say It Isn't So) You'd Never Go (Take Eight) (Mayfield Records Single A-Side 7711) (1966) 2:37

06 The Fascinations - I'm So Lucky (He Loves Me) (Mayfield Records Single B-Side 7711) (1966) 2:31

07 The Fascinations - Girls Are Out to Get You (Mayfield Records Single A-Side 7714) (1967) 2:06

08 The Fascinations - You'll Be Sorry (Mayfield Records Single B-Side 7714) (1967) 2:54

09 The Fascinations - I'm in Love (Mayfield Records Single A-Side 7716) (1967) 2:26

10 The Fascinations - I Can't Stay Away from You (Mayfield Records Single B-Side 7716) (1967) 2:53

11 The Fascinations - Hold On (Mayfield Records Single A-Side 7718) (1968) 2:16

12 The Fascinations - Such a Fool (Mayfield Records Single B-Side 7718) (1968) 2:49

13 The Fascinations - Just Another Reason (Mayfield Records Single A-Side 7719) (1968) 2:04

14 The Fascinations - O.K. for You (Mayfield Records Single B-Side 7719) (1968) 2:29

15 The Fascinations - Trusting in You (Previously Unreleased) 2:15

16 The Fascinations - Crazy (Mayfield Records Single B-Side OSV024) (2011) 2:04

17 The Mayfield Singers - I've Been Trying 3:05

18 The Mayfield Singers - If 2:26

19 The Mayfield Players - If-strumental 2:29

20 The Mayfield Players - Still Trying (Instrumental) 4:00

21 The Mayfield Players - Don't Start None (Instrumental) 2:30

22 The Mayfield Players - Little Bird (Instrumental) 4:21

23 The Mayfield Players - Lucky (Instrumental) 2:38

24 The Mayfield Players - Foolish One (Instrumental) 2:58

25 The Mayfield Players - So Sorry (Instrumental) 3:01

26 The Fascinations - (Say It Isn't So) You'd Never Go (Take Four) 3:14

27 The Mayfield Players - Out to Get'Cha (Instrumental) 2:18




  1. Great material as always K and Butterboy many thanks and wishes for the coming season!

    1. Thanks, Little Bill.
      Same to you and yours.

  2. Not really familiar with them so it will be an interesting drive-in.Thanks K & BB

  3. How do you do it? I'm consistently amazed at the variety of music you put up. Can't thank you enough :-)

    1. Hi caver.
      So, pleased you feel that way.

  4. Great job K. A deep dive indeed. Nice to have it all together.
    Hi BB

  5. Hi BB, i now follow you since a long time and you always have extraordinary compilations, Whether yours or other you really do a great job and the fascinations is fascinating really
    Again thank you

    1. Thanks, Serge.
      Enjoy this set curated by K.

  6. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Guitarradeplastico,scraping oddities.