Prince had his vixen. Plenty of them. They were often alternate channels for him to explore other musical ideals. Their exploits are well documented on the charts and even in film. All this success with musical puppets must have prompted others to give it a try. Rick James had success with The Mary Jane Girls. Even Jessie Johnson channeled his creativity through Ta Mara and the Seen.
Princes closest musical counterpart might have been Andre Cymone. Inspired by the runaway success of Vanity 6, Cymone figured he give the girl group a try. After all, it worked for Morris day in Purple Rain. During the height of Cymone’s reign on the charts he created his version of the musical alter ego in the form of The Girls. Their one and only album Girl Talk was similar to the Vanity6/Apollonia 6 model that had worked so well for Prince. The real difference being that The Girls lacked any whimsical humor and never strayed too far from the R&B funk of Cymone’s music.
Being less adventurous than Apollonia 6 might have suggested that The Girls were more about looks, but they were not the exotic types that Prince might have hand-picked. Germain Brooks, Shelia Rankin and Doris Ann Rhodes were just teenagers when Cymone gathered them together to front his new project. Looking like the naughty girls next door may have been the source of their charm.
Musically The Girls sounded like Cymone’s band with female vocals. There’s good reason for that because Cymone in Prince-like fashion played nearly all the instruments in the recording with the exception of bits on various songs performed by members of his backing band.
On the surface The Girls offered little beyond the novelty of hearing yet another Prince-like band with female vocals. Closer inspection reveals some surprises in the form of new wave and funk reminiscent of The Time. One track “Don’t Waste My Time” could have been an early Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis song with its SOS Band-like chorus. “Girl Talk” was not unlike the funky jam sessions from the Times first two albums.
Where The Girls really shine was the sultry “Someone Shoulda Told Me”. That song alone made the album worth getting (if you could have found it). If there was any doubt that any of the Girls could sing, Germain Brooks proved them wrong with her soaring conclusion. Other tracks like “Nu Boy” and “My Man” stay consistent with Minneapolis funk by exploring new wave pop.
In all The Girls hardly made a dent in the electrofunk sweepstakes of the early ’80s. After proving itself to be a flow, The Girls were dropped by their record company and disbanded in 1985. By then Cymone had moved on with the Prince written hit “The Dance Electric”.