Back in the 1950s, when rock'n'roll was feared as a threat to civilisation, it was the female singers who were the real rockabilly rebels. At a time when the sight of Elvis Presley swivelling his pelvis was considered so shocking that one TV programme famously only filmed him from the waist up, the prospect of a woman getting all shook up was simply beyond the pale.

Few of the Women who dared to rock ever got heard on the radio, let alone seen on television. Even some of the big names, such as Brenda Lee and Wanda Jackson, who are now considered to have made some of the best rock'n'roll Music, couldn't get their songs played at the time; the only became Celebrities in the 1960s when they switched to the calmer sounds of country music.

New album

But as a new compilation, Girls Gonna Bop, ably proves, there were no shortage of women who wanted to follow in the footsteps of Elvis' blue suede shoes, and many of them could hold their own with the likes of Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis when it came to the sounds of teenage rebellion.

Women's lib

Just listen to the wild screams of Rose Maddox, with which she punctuated her sped-up version of Hank Williams' Move It On Over. Or the sexually suggestive aches and moans of Lorrie Collins as she describes the feelings her boyfriend stirs in her in Mercy. Or "Mmmmmmercy!" as she sighs. These women were liberated decades before the term women's lib was coined, and their oestrogen-powered performances are so unrestrained that it's a wonder the exclusively male disc jockeys of the day were scared to unleash them upon their listeners.

Annisteen Allen's Rough Lover, in which she describes how she likes to be treated by a man, would be considered near the knuckle today.


Some of the 25 singers here went on to careers in other fields, such as Jean Shepard, who became a country star, and Jackie Dee, who became better known in the 1960s as singer-songwriter Jackie DeShannon.

Many others vanished into obscurity after recording maybe just one dance-floor rave up.

But it's the fact that most of this music has never been heard before that makes it a real find for lovers of vintage rock'n'roll.