Josie Cotton's bubbly soprano proves an effective vehicle for producers Bobby & Larson Paine on Cotton's new album, "Convertible Music." The Paine brothers have a knack for recreating the slumber-party innocence and sock-hop beat of '60s girl-group hits. The Paines, who once handled the Go- Gos, have applied the lessons of that earlier collaboration and the song that came out of it, "Johnny, Are You Queer?" to Cotton. The single -- a clever, modern variation on the eternal girl group question, "Does he love someone else?" -- was a controversial hit last year and is the high point of the new album.
Cotton herself has written six slight songs to fill out the album. The Paines' smart arrangements and Cotton's captivating voice save a couple of these songs, especially the moody new-wavish "Waitin' For Your Love" and the punchy shouter, "Bye Bye Baby." Bobby Paine plays the booster bass and prickly guitar, while J. B. Frank adds the swirling, dizzying organ. The second- best song on the album is the new single, the Paines' "He Could Be the One," which beats with breathless expectancy. Though not as substantive or original as the Go-Gos or Bonnie Hayes, Cotton and the Paines are a welcome addition to the girl-group revival. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM JOSIE COTTON -- Convertible Music (Elektra, 60140-1). THE SHOW JOSIE COTTON at the 9:30 Club on Sunday.