It’s arguable that the years 1939 to 1945 were the most important era in female pop music.
Placed within the context of a world war (and the increasing awareness of gender rights activated through the earlier suffragettes and the (then) work of the Women’s Institute and the Dig for Britain initiative) the role of the female was taking on more, noticeable, importance and becoming more, socially, equal.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the increased responsibility for women to create, and soundtrack, the social backdrop of the time.
Whilst female recording artists such as The Andrew Sisters (‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy’, ‘Don’t sit under the apple tree’, ‘Any bonds today?’) and Dame Vera Lynn (‘We’ll meet again’, ‘(There’ll be bluebirds over) The white cliffs of Dover)’ were the most prominent figureheads of the era, the rise of the American v-disc series also provided a platform for other leading female recording artists, most notably Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford and Billie Halliday.
Theirs became the generation of a golden promise, with a responsibility to provide morale boosting, swinging, tracks for servicemen and sweethearts alike.
Their music became an integral part in chipping away at gender inequality, stereotype and bias.
Re-enacting this responsibility, and these themes, has to be reverential; an act needs to do more than just sing the songs, they also have to provide a history lesson, reminding an audience both of the equal importance of both genders in the war effort, and also how the music helped create a culture which changed the course of history.
The acts also has to step outside merely replicating the style of the 1940’s aesthetic; this cannot become a Jean Paul Gaultier (hamoge’d) caricature or a repetition of current fashionistas who over use anchor tattoo’s, curled hair and military uniforms.
Additionally, the act also needs to reproduce songs sung by some of the greatest female artists of all time…
The Darling Dollies did an excellent job of not only looking the part, but also sounding the part.
Their vocal harmonies were tight, well-rehearsed and provided a great entry into the music and lyrics of their song choices, which although not limited to the 1940s, provided a continual swing/ big band/ jazz sound.
Alternative lead vocals from each Dolly also provided a great tool to continually change the emotional backdrop to the show; each combination of Dolly harmony creating totally different vocal sounds.
The Dollies were strong in presence and in voice, perfectly capturing the spirit of artists who’s role was to set an example of optimism and assured confidence.
It wasn’t an easy job to do; but they did it brilliantly.