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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Mary Jane Girls

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Album Review

The Mary Jane Girls were always known as Rick James' protégées, because that's what they were. The superfreak dressed 'em up in skimpy outfits and provocative costumes, and had them sing songs very reminiscent of James — actually, it's probably more accurate to say that the sound was closer to Prince or one of his protégés, because there was a heavily Minneapolis vibe to his songs and productions for the Mary Jane Girls. They hit a home run once, with the spectacular "In My House," one of the great urban funk songs of the mid-'80s. They never got that good again, although they almost hit the Top 40 with "Wild and Crazy Love" and "Walk Like a Man." Those three songs, along with a bunch of other singles, R&B hits, and album tracks are on 20th Century Masters, as good a retrospective as could be assembled on the Girls. It's not totally comprehensive, but it does have anything that anybody would want to hear, and while it won't make a case for the girls or James as a Svengali, it's pretty enjoyable for those that want to hear songs like "In My House," only not as memorable.


Formed: 1979 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Just as Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6 wouldn't have existed without Prince, the Mary Jane Girls were created by Rick James and were very much a product of the funkster's imagination. The group's name was coined in the late '70s, when James hired them as background singers for his Stone City Band. The Mary Jane Girls (whose name underscored James' fondness for marijuana) soon became an actual group, and in the early '80s were signed to Motown (the R&B powerhouse for which James and his protégée Teena Marie...
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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Mary Jane Girls, Mary Jane Girls
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