Written as a poem for her boyfriend when she was fourteen years old – and recorded a year later – Rosie Hamlin’s Angel Baby is an utterly seductive piece of artless naivety. While the lyrics alone perfectly convey teenage wide-eyedness, the music and (particularly) the singing give it an emotional and other-wordly quality: Rosie sings it like she means it (especially with those “oohs”). As a fifteen-year-old girl would.
The music rolls and shuffles unsteadily (the perfect accompaniment for Rosie’s own unsteadiness), sometimes losing the tempo and featuring a sax solo that even I could play. And because it goes on for three minutes and forty seconds (very long by early rock ‘n’ roll/doo wop standards) we get even more of the sense of this young girl’s lovelorn anguish.