one faint deluded smile

Thursday, October 07, 2004

3 Women

Female singers often affect me more directly than their male contemporaries. I can listen to a million Joni Mitchell tracks before I want to hear one by Neil Young, and I like old Shakey quite a bit too. It's probably a musical indicator to the continuing state of my interpersonal relationsā€¦ but don't get me started on that.

Here are 3 women that I've adored.

Christie Allen - Goosebumps
Countdown was the premier Australian pop show of the 70s and 80s and was watched by every music loving teen / young adult in the country. At 6PM on Sunday evenings I'd gather with friends and watch avidly to see if they'd play even one good song. Instead you'd put up with all the stars of Oz Pub Rock, all the newer bands that Molly Meldrum (our loveable embarrassment) was pushing that week and the latest hits from overseas. For every great Abba or Kate Bush track you'd get a dozen awful things like Rose Tattoo's "Bad Boy For Love". Christie seemed to come from nowhere at the time but this (admittedly very, very stupid) song just grabbed us and wouldn't let go. I think we really just loved her ridiculous performance where movements emulated the lyrics - grabbing her stomach for the "you give me heartbreak, guts ache" line, etc.

Unknown - To Moro
On a bus in Greece in the Spring of 1985 the driver switched on the radio, let out a yelp of joy and surprise, turned it UP and sang along to this song - as did half the bus. Yes, a real homegrown Greek pop hit and one I loved immediately too. I heard it everywhere after that and, after much gesticulation and bad mime, someone finally wrote down a scrawl of Cyrillic letters which I hoped was the name of the artist and song. I took it into an Athenian record store and was given a cassette that did indeed contain this trackā€¦ amongst 2 other good songs and a lot of sub-Streisand wailing. By the end of the next week I could barely stand it. But that's the transitory nature of pop after all. I never found out how to pronounce her name at the time and have kept this mystery unresolved to this day.

Wanderlea - Mane Joao
A couple of years ago, Stereolab's official website was re-designed with pretty, moving graphics and a pastel colour scheme that suited them down to the ground. They also added a radio page where a diverse range of current favourites would be placed. This song was in their first stream and, luckily, came after some difficult pieces that gave me an upset stomach. It contains some of those gorgeous Bossa Nova style chord changes, melody twists and horn arrangements that I love so much but updates the rhythms into an off-kilter, jazzy funk. But it's her delivery that makes it so great - clipped, brisk and sexy. Ms Wanderlea has been around for a long, long time, singing with all the greats of Brasilian music and, as far as I can make out, is still performing today - what a trooper she must be.


  • joni mitchell vs. neil young? i think i'd declare it a draw today. though joni was my favourite songwriter (those 70s lyrics are so romantic and poetic) when i discovered her (late) in the mid eighties. neil young had more stamina and is still occasionally releasing exciting stuff. silver and gold was excellent. whereas joni lost it after wild things run fast.

    i like the bossa nova song. the brazilian accent of potuguese is so much nicer than the harsh portuguese one.

    By Blogger Alexander, at 7:15 am  

  • i was only using JM and NY as examples of my foible, really. but i still think those early-mid 70s joni albums are better than most of young's releases. and, yes, there's something quite beautifull about the brazilian version of portugues - it fits in so brilliantly with bossa as well.

    By Blogger Phil, at 10:34 am  

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