While Fulda, Minnesota's Wikipedia page
semi-tragically excludes the Continental Co-Ets from her history, the band has been fortunate enough to rise from the deep ash of the mid-'60s rock boom, instigated in large part by Beatlemania, where innumerable bands lay buried like so many (largely selfsame) dinosaurs. What set them apart at the time could have been that they played their own instruments and wrote their own original songs instead of overdubbing vocals on studio takes of "Louie, Louie" or whatever standard a particular label had rights to. And they were all females (girls really, still in high school at their height of popularity).
Even without their originals and their chops, being an all-girl group obviously garnered them an amount of attention back in the day, the gendered "novelty" enough for the Vultures to invite them on a tour billed as a "battle of the sexes." While it should be considered sad that this is still notable, as bands like the Screaming Females
surprise and engage so many by the simple virtue of a virtuosic frontwoman, the Co-Ets really do seem to deserve the posthumous attention they're receiving, contributing original songs to rock's annals and showing countless girls and boys in the mid-'60s that being in a band wasn't only for the Y chromes.
From Minnesota Public Radio's excellent piece on the band:
The band started in 1963, in the town of Fulda in southwest Minnesota. The high school's music teacher, Dave Edwards, tutored the young musicians and played on stage with the group in its first few appearances. "Those kids practiced until their fingers were just raw. The pain of playing with raw fingers is really something that's memorable, but they did it. That was the kind of drive and passion they had for playing," Edwards says. Guitarist Carolyn Behr says "raw fingers" is a generous description. She says "bloody" is more accurate. Drummer Vicki Ommen says the hard work paid off. "We were pretty good. We did a good job of combining all of our talents, and the sound that we put out was good. We were just kind of thrilled by it all," says Ommen.
The Continental Co-Ets were brought to our attention by the beautifully run local blog Nokohaha.
And, via Detailed Twang, two songs:
mp3: Continental Co-Ets, "I Don't Love You No More"
mp3: Continental Co-Ets, "Let's Live for the Present"