Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Transformation: Best of
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, R&B, Rock, Metal
SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN AS BIG AS TINA TUNER
Scott T Mc Nally | ORLANDO, Fl USA | 12/11/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nona Hendryx began her career with Patti LaBelle And The Bluebells in the early 60's. When they changed their name to Labelle in the early 70's, Hendryx became the main songwriter. Her voice was the anchor. We only got a little taste of her singing ability back then, and what an ability it is! After the breakup of LaBelle, Nona released one hard rock album in 77 and gravitated toward the New York Art rock scene, where became an extended member of Talking Heads and worked with Bill Laswell's avante garde rock outfit, Material. In 83, she released "Nona", co-produced and backed primarily by Material. It was a critical success and fared very well in markets with progressive formats, but the problem with it was that R&B stations felt it was too much Rock for them and Rock stations were a bit put off by the soul aspect. When Tina Turner broke through in 84 with "Private Dancer", I thought for sure that this would open the door for Hendryx. Rolling Stone once stated that she could out shout Tina from 50 feet away. Unfortunately, Turner's success didn't open that door and this collection was all that remained of her catalog, and is now unavailable after only being out for all of two years. She had all the ingrdients for superstardom (voice, writing ability, stage presence and stunning good looks) and it just didn't quite click.
To describe her voice, I'd say that Gladys Knight comes to mind, though her voice is a bit higher and has far more range.
This collection offers a fine overview of her carreer, though I'd really like to see her whole catalog reinstated. Personal favorites of mine here "Transformation" which really makes Grace Jones sound like an amatuer. "Keep It Confidential" shook dance floors around the world and is one of the most commercial songs she did. "Design For Living" remains my all time favorite from Hendryx and features an all female back up band that includes Laurie Anderson, Heart's Nancy Wilson, Talking Heads' Tina Weymouth and Patti LaBelle singing up a storm in the gospel tinged refrain. Also worth mentioning are the rocking "Tax Exile", the ballad "Wind Of Change" which features Peter Gabriel doing a gospel sounding call back vocal to Hendryx's silky alto, and "I Sweat, Goin Through The Motions".To sum things up, Hendryx is an artist who crosses the genre's of Rock, R&B, funk, and even New Age Electronica, though she is guided more by a Rock asthetic than anything else. At times, I think she tried to be a bit too commercial to gain more acceptance, but the bulk of her work is proof that pop or dance music can be art. I hope that someday she records and tours again."
One of the most underrated, criminally overlooked artists!
G. Mitchell | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So sad this comphrehensive overview of Nona's entire career is now OOP on CD only after a few years after being released by Razor & Tie - ALL of Nona's strongest tracks are here - so many fine moments to choose from, but a few of my own favorites are from Nona's self-titled NYC art-funk album from '83 produced by the Bill Laswell/Material gang. I got this LP at a radio station giveaway and have kept it close my in collection for over two decades! If you don't think TRANSFORMATION or B-BOYS are funky (esp the rare Jellybean remix edit!), you don't have a pulse. Possibly my favorite tracks are either KEEP IT CONFIDENTIAL (the vocal run at the end, the uplifting neo-gospel vibe!) or prime Jam & Lewis 80s shuffler WHY SHOULD I CRY? - a take-no-prisoners should-have-been-hit, and would have been had it been sung by Janet, etc. Even ARTHUR BAKER-helmed "D.O.A." had the goods, but stalled at the gate at Top 40 - WHY?! Nona has the looks, the songwriting chops, the stance, and and the sheer ground-breaking attitude to pull it off, but sadly the public at retail & radio wouldn't let her, due to her unwillingness to dilute or "dumb down" her potent mix of rock and R&B that transcended borders and broke down barriers. And that VOICE - a strong, clear siren song that cuts glass or caresses when it needs to get the job done - I once saw Nona do a cover of "Bennie & the Jets" in full S&M regalia at an AIDS benefit in the LA in the early 90s - among a hit of heavy-hitters, she easily stole the show. If you see this CD on the bins or online, GRAB IT PRONTO! It's just a pity her original labels didn't see fit to release the ORIGINAL FULL LPs on CD!"
Best kept secret
G. Mitchell | 01/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're looking to try something different in the vein of something that's simply of high quality and highly original without feeling like you just don't get 'it', then I absolutely recommend this Nona Hendryx CD. Mostly everything on this compilation is intriguing without being presumptious. In fact, the only thing here that makes me yawn is "Baby Go-Go", which is semi-passable Prince funk that sounds too hit-aspired to be sincere--something Nona otherwise never has any trouble coming across as. Her voice lets her listener hear no boundary if it has any, her material is never tiring, her point of view always refreshing even with ordinary topics like love. She rocks like she's giving lessons how to and she's soulful like it's her backbone. "Busting Out" is really the only anthem of its subject matter that is really needed. Until her catalog is completely re-issued (I'm keeping optimistic) this a perfect starting point. Two interesting notes: 1) Some tracks were remixed for original single release and these are intsances that it has actually enhanced rather than neutered a songs' punch; those versions are included here. 2) This CD ends with an edited version of a LaBelle song that smartly leaves you needing to investigate that other aspect of her career. Cameleon, the original album that this song comes from, is tremendous and Nona wrote 99% of it. Please, travel every avenue of Nona's career. It's quite an inspiring and scenic route."