The Cookies (not be to be confused with an Australian vocal group also from the ’60s) were a fairly good if unremarkable early ’60s girl group in the typical Goffin & King style. Brooklyn born and bred, the interchangeable arrangement of vocalists recorded first for Atlantic Records, then later as Ray Charles’s Raelettes, with minor chart success.
In 1962, though, another group formed, also called the Cookies, with original Cookie Earl-Jean McCrae joining, effectively blurring the line between one group and the next, forcing geeks like me to pause each time they mention the Cookies to specify which group they mean–the first Cookies, the Aussie Cookies, or the post-Charles Cookies. And yes, it’s needlessly complicated.
ANYWAY, in early 1963 the newly reformed Cookies released “Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad (About My Baby)”, a #7 hit on Billboard and, unfortunately, one of their final recordings before splitting by the end of the year. Nevermind the fact that it’s a great recording that stands head and shoulders above a crowd of cheaply minted competitors; the best part of this song is what they’re saying.
The narrator’s ready to punch out someone’s lights. Considering the way she purrs each line, you hardly notice the slight growling, aggressive way she warns would-be nay-sayers “Girl, you better shut your mouth!” Isn’t that the most unexpectedly forceful defense of some guy who everyone says is “lazy playboy”? I can almost picture her getting in someone’s face!
That line is the most bizarrely apt topping for a very smooth, enjoyable song.