Girls at Our Best!

Girls at Our Best

Singer Judy Evans, flanked by guitarist James Alan, bassist Gerard Swift, and drummer Carl Harper (not sure who is who)

"Judy Evans is the only female Girl at Our Best! but her untrained trilling is the band's most distinctive element. The male musicians play pep-charged tunes about narcissistic youth; unflagging chord changes and witty lyrics prevent portentousness. A good romp ..." [Trouser Press]

All the band members come from the Leeds Area in England. The first incarnation of this band was duo SOS, formed in 1977 by guitarist James Alan (Jez) and bassist Gerard Swift (Terry). Then, while in art school, Alan met Judy Evans (Jo), who joined the group and so SOS morphed the Butterflies.

The Butterflies broke up towards the end of 1979, but several months after their demise Rough Trade Records heard a tape of one of their previously recorded songs called Warm Girls, and liked it so much that they offered to back its release on the band's (soon to be) label, Record Records.

The band renamed itself after a line of that song - Girls At Our Best! - and hit the indie charts in 1980 with Warm Girls/Getting Nowhere Fast (recorded with drummer Chris Oldroyd). This single, released on Record Records, went on to sell 7,000 copies. Later that year they released a second single on the same label (recorded with a different drummer, James Alan) - Politics!/It's Fashion.

By 1981, the band had secured a more permanent drummer, Carl Harper, as well as a deal with Happy Birthday Records. They went on to release 2 more singles that year, Go For Gold/I'm Beautiful Now and Fast Boyfriends/This Train. At around the same time, Judy and James gave up their day jobs at Leeds Warehouse (where Marc Almond of Soft Cell also used to work) and Gerard quit work plumbing, all to go professional with the GAOB.

Girls At our Best! split in 1982 after the joint departure of bassist Terry (Gerard Swift) and drummer Titch (Carl Harper). Originally, James and Judy had planned to carry on, possibly under a different name, but these plans never came to fruition. GAOB!'s swan song was the 'Pleasure' album, which came out in October 1982 and made the album charts at number 60. Five years later, in 1987, their 'Peel sessions (17.2.81)' was released post-humously on the Strange Fruit label; Pleasure was re-released with additional tracks (containing the band's full musical history, including all the singles) in 1994 by Vinyl Japan.

From "Write Said Fred" in the NME circa 1994:

Gerard Swift, [is] now a heating engineer back in his hometown of Leeds ...

"I haven't done anything musical for years; just settled down with a wife and two kids, while Carl has also opted out of music and now has a job mending computers.

"I haven't seen Jo for a long time but I know she got married and had one, maybe two, kids and I believe she's living in Holland.

"As for Jez I still see him from time to time. He's living in London and still in music [Jez was guitarist with The Tall Boys]. In fact I saw him playing a gig in Leeds a short while ago, though I can't remember the name of the band."



Getting Nowhere Fast/Warm Girls (1980, Record Records)
Politics!/It's Fashion (1980, Record Records)
Go For Gold/I'm Beautiful Now (1981, Happy Birthday Records)
Fast Boyfriends/This Train (1981, Happy Birthday Records)


Pleasure (1982, Happy Birthday Records)
The Peel Sessions EP (1987, Strange Fruit; recorded in February 1981; contains, among other selections, a medley of three singles)
Pleasure rerelease (1994, Vinyl Japan; contains all singles, A and B sides).

Independent Girls at our Best! Web site

Last update: March 6, 2003