Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Goldie & The Gingerbreads - The Skip

Goldie & the Gingerbreads
I found this record on Ebay (where else) a few years ago, enticed by the Hammond groove sound sample that accompanied the auction. Only vaguely familiar with Goldie & The Gingerbreads (assuming they were filed with the Shangri-Las and groups of that ilk), I assumed that the organ groove in question ‘The Skip’ had to be the work of anonymous studio musicians. So, a week goes by and the 45 (on UK Decca) drops through yon mail slot into my greedy little hands. I slap the disc on the ole GP3, and the tune turns out to be much better than the short sound clip led me to believe. So, after I finished playing it three or four times in a row, I take it off the player and start perusing the label. I already knew (via the item description) that the disc had been produced by Shel Talmy (producer of the Who among others…), and ‘The Skip’ (which only appeared as a b-side in the UK) was written by someone with the last name ‘Crocitto’. I had assumed that ‘The Skip’, because it was an instro on the flip side of a girl group record was probably another group entirely (as has been the case in the past) or even a completely unrelated track pulled from the files to fill the dead side of a 45 (which has also happened). I soon found out (happily) that I was wrong on all counts. ‘Goldie and the Gingerbreads were formed in the early 60’s in NYC by Polish-born Genya “Goldie” Zelkowitz. Zelkowitz had recorded a number of 45s for the Coral label before forming the Gingerbreads. The Gingerbreads, who unlike many “girl groups” were an actual band (with an R&B/rock sound) had been signed to Atlantic records (their 45s were issued on the ATCO subsidiary). They were playing at the Peppermint Lounge when they were spotted by the Animals. So impressed was Animals’ organist Alan Price with Gingerbread’s organist Margo Crocitto (there’s that name again!) that the Animals brought the band to the UK. There (with Talmy at the boards) they would release three 45s for Decca, one for Fontana, and one (just billed as ‘Goldie’) on Immediate. The flip side of the second Decca 45 (‘That’s Why I Love You’) was the driving Hammond instrumental ‘The Skip’, with Margo Crocitto on organ. This discovery was especially satisfying because there just aren’t that many women that made the Hammond organ their instrument. Notable exceptions to that rule included the mighty Shirley Scott, Rhoda Scott, and Trudy Pitts (all jazz musicians) , but exceptions they were. To find a treasure like ‘The Skip’ hiding on a UK-only b-side by a group like Goldie & The Gingerbreads was surprising indeed. The Gingerbreads never got to record a full length lp. By the end of the 60’s they had broken up, Goldie going on to become Genya Ravan (of Ten Wheel Drive fame) and the rest of the Gingerbreads (including Margo Crocitto, then Margo Lewis) went on to form the all female band Isis who recorded a number of lps in the 70’s.


Blogger go.gorostiza said...

Larry, THANKS so much for posting this!! one more on the wantlist!

3/22/2005 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Grogan said...

My pleasure! Glad you like it!

3/22/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Michele said...

This was fun reading. My dear friend, Anne Rutledge, was a member of this band and because she was only a minor (17) her mom wouldn't let her go over to England. I just felt compelled to have her name mentioned because she too was part of this pioneering group. I have some great pics that she allowed me to scan with her and the rest of the girls.

12/17/2007 12:30:00 AM  

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