In contemplating the value of what seems like an ever-increasing number of tribute albums, the same questions pop into my head. Who buys them, on what basis should the albums be rated, and what separates a good one from a bad one? There are those that argue that a note-for-note recreation of the original serves no purpose, while others would say, "stop taking these things so goddamn seriously, it's a tribute album!" In the case of "Girls Got Rhythm", the fact that tribute bands perform the tribute songs, and that said acts are comprised of only females makes the effort unique. And with a few very minor tweaks, the songs are performed note-for-the note, although in virtually every case the vocals do not sound like the original singers. The songs are played competently and the general vibe is a fun one, even if impact is negligible.
Not surprisingly, eight of the 13 bands call Los Angeles home. The rest of the acts hail from Cincinnati (BLACK DIAMOND), Seattle (HELL'S BELLES), San Francisco (ZEPPARELLA), Italy (KISSEXY), and the United Kingdom (RAMONAS). In addition to this home base information, the nicely packaged liner notes contain interesting bits of information on each band, based on the members' answers to questions like "What impact has your chosen band you pay tribute to had on you?" and "Have you come into contact with any of the original band members?"
Of the 13 tracks, five are either AC/DC or KISS songs. The three AC/DC tunes are "Thunderstruck", "Back in Black", and "Dog Eat Dog" and are performed by THUNDHERSTRUCK, HELL's BELLES, and WHOLE LOTTA ROSIES, respectively. None are necessarily worthy of note, save for maybe the cover of the lesser-known "Dog East Dog" (from 1977's "Let There Be Rock"), but each one is played well and performed with spirit. Between BLACK DIAMOND's "Love Gun" and KISSEXY's "Lick it Up", props go to the latter for a slight increase in tempo and the incorporation of a worthy guitar solo (the original version does not contain a solo, more like an accent break). The problem with "Love Gun" is the badly off-key vocals.
In terms of highlights, ZEPPARELLA's cover of LED ZEPPELIN's "The Lemon Song" wins out for the smokin' guitar playing of Gretchen and the group's uncanny ability to retain the hot blues vibe of the original. Aside from the dull versions of CHEAP TRICK's "Surrender" (CHEAP CHICK), MISFITS' "Last Caress" (MS. FITS), and JIMI HENDRIX's "Foxey Lady" (FOXEY LADY), the rest of the tunes win a few points for the raucous playing and good time vibe. "Run to the Hills" (THE IRON MAIDENS), "Fairies Wear Boots" (MISTRESS OF REALITY), and "I Don't Know" (THE LITTLE DOLLS) each sound pretty good.
So who will buy "Girls Got Rhythm"? That's a good question, but I'd wager that it would be those with excess cash on hand. Perhaps in some cases it would be aspiring female musicians, although beyond the inspiration factor, I'm not sure what good that would do, as one would be better off simply learning from the original recordings. Had I not gotten it for free, would I shell out the bucks for it? I seriously doubt it, but it might be a cool disc to spin at a party.