Songs Of The Day 5/7/2015: Val McKenna – “Baby Do It” + "I Can't Believe What You Say"

Brit Girls of the '60s: Val McKenna’s another one lost to the skeleton closet of the internet. Nobody seems to have anything more than the most cursory career summation about her. Plus the only useable photos I found have her barricaded behind oversized sunglasses, as if she knew cyberdorks fifty years hence would be scouring the muslin veil of the internet seeking a straight-ahead thoroughfare to her reclusive soul, and she just wasn’t gonna have any of that noise.

She started working out with a British vocal trio called The Ivy League (who are, by the way, very much still in existence) in the mid ’60s. McKenna doesn’t belong in the same phylum as Petula Clark, Sandie Shaw, et al for one reason that’s hopefully evident on her records: Her songs, many of which she wrote herself, are more hard-driving, straight R&B pieces that the mod population allegedly found appealing. It’s tough music. I like tough music. It helps me with my macramé.

At the last minute I couldn’t decide between McKenna’s first hit, “Baby Do It,” or her subsequent raver “I Can’t Believe What You Say.” So let’s do what insurance and telecommunications companies call a “bundle.” And on “Baby Do It,” we have yet another luminary-in-waiting playing the guitar: Jimmy Page. He was in The Firm!

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