Sisters Barbara (Bibs) and Phyllis (Jiggs) Allbut started out singing with a group called The Starlets in New Jersey alongside Bernadette Carroll and Linda Malzone. They had some minor local hits and wound up doing backup work in the studio.
When Linda Malzone left, Linda Jankowski (later Jansen) became the new lead singer. Their manager, Tom DeCillis, turned his focus to Bernadette Carroll and dropped the rest of the group. Carroll would find solo success in 1963 with her Laurie single Party Girl.
After a failed attempt at a record deal with producer Gerry Granahan, the Allbut sisters turned their focus to education. Phyllis Allbut was in teacher’s college at the time and Barbara was accepted into the Juilliard School for her abilities as a music arranger
Granahan eventually decided he saw hit potential in the song they had performed for him in their audition, a version of Till, and asked them to record it in the studio. Released on his Caprice label it became their first single under their new name, The Angels, and also their first hit (#14 in the US).
This was followed by the less-successful single Cry Baby Cry in 1962 and their sole album on Caprice, And the Angels Sing (also 1962).
Linda Jansen left in late 1962 with Kerri Downs filling in at live shows for a short while. Then, Peggy Santiglia (formerly of The Delicates) joined Bibs and Jiggs and the trio recorded a version of My Boyfriend’s Back.
The Angels’ performance was originally intended as a demo for The Shirelles‘ consideration, but the music publishers chose instead to release it as it stood. The song was a major hit, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Angels recorded two more albums – My Boyfriend’s Back (#33) and A Halo to You (which didn’t chart) – and toured the US, Canada, and Europe doing concerts, clubs and television until Peggy left and was replaced by Toni Mason. Mason eventually left to go solo and was replaced by Debby Swisher.
When Debby departed in 1968, Bernadette Carroll toured with the group and sang lead on two Angels recordings for RCA. After just a year (in 1969), Bernadette left and Jiggs took a maternity leave. Bibs, Peggy and Toni Mason carried on, doing supper clubs and TV in Canada and touring in the US until Jiggs returned.
During their career, The Angels maintained a steady string of moderately successful singles which included I Adore Him (#25) and Wow Wow Wee (He’s The Boy For Me) (#41).
With a renewed interest in ‘oldies’ rock ‘n’ roll, The Angels found themselves with a newly revitalised career. They played Madison Square Garden and many other venues in huge package revival shows, as well as appearing on TV shows such as The Midnight Special.
Bibs ultimately decided to pursue other interests and was replaced by Lana Shaw who also departed in 1978. Peggy and Jiggs decided not to add another ‘third girl’ and instead enlisted their guitarist/conductor, Stan Sirico, as the third voice.
The group worked with this configuration until January 2008 when The Angels added Karalyn Hugo (one of Jiggs’ daughters).
Barbara ‘Bibs’ Allbut
Phyllis ‘Jiggs’ Allbut