A time capsule from the 70's
Peter Baklava | Charles City, Iowa | 06/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you were young in the 1970's and feel (like I do) a somewhat conflicted streak of nostalgia for that decade, then this is the album for you. One listen will bring memories back, of all the hitchhiking, the natural foods restaurants, the constant search for some kind of lost Arcadian dream--and the hangover from the 70's, the unfulfilled wishes and unrealized hopes.
This is the first Roche sisters effort (before Suzzy joined) and it was produced by Paul Simon. It has more of a beat and a bounce than the subsequent Roches' albums; it's loosey-goosey but it doesn't have the kind of vaudeville kitsch that the sisters put on many of their releases. Maggie and Terre sing these eclectic songs as if they'd lived them--and, given the times, they probably did.
The two Roches stretch out comfortably on these songs, and they both shine. Maggie uses the full range of her remarkable voice, and solos on one of her most poignant songs, "Jill of All Trades." Terre's soprano is featured on "West Virginia".
All of the songs are full of verve and humor, particularly "Wiggling Man", "Telephone Bill", "If You Emptied Out All Your Pockets..." There are many priceless bits of wisdom among the lyrics, and there is a "country rock" sound to the album that the Roches have never revisited.
So this is my advice: find this album somehow, and listen to it. Have a glass of wine, and if you want to read something, "Fast Lanes" by Jayne Anne Phillips would go sensationally well with this music. All together, that should quench your "jones for the 70's" very nicely."
Daniel Pellegrino | Eastern North Carolina | 11/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So much has already been captured by the other reviewers but I had to add to the count because the album is that good.
This effort preceded the formation of the Roches as a trio (before little-sis Suzzy joined her sibs) and was originally released in 1975. Paul Simon thought enough of the girls to produce one of the tracks, which includes backup singing by the Oakridge Boys. The album includes tales of love and love-related woe from young ladies traveling the country.
The songwriting is nothing short of masterful. All tunes are written by Maggie (except one that is co-written with Terre) and the album is a real showcase of her prodigious talent -- the clever lyrical wordplay, the beautiful melodies and harmonies, the chord structures -- all of it. It demonstrates why she is truly one of the best songwriters to have ever come along.
The wonderful musicianship of both of the sisters is also well represented. There is solid acoustic guitar work by both of them and, with Maggie's meaningful piano contributions, it easily provides all of the instrumentation needed. The vocal prowess of both ladies is in glorious display as each has many featured moments singing lead and the harmonizations and sheer beauty of their voices are, at times, stunning.
Those familiar with the work of The Roches (the trio) will actually find this album to be a bit different but no less fabulous. The music is honest, intimate and quite sophisticated yet somehow simple. By that, I mean that it is easy to listen to and easy to feel but the feeling grows the more one listens (much like with the music of The Roches). As familiarity with this material increases, so does the appreciation of its intricacy and depth. There are so many finer points to feast upon but it is not crowded or cumbersome because it all flows so smoothly and with such beauty.
As a creator, Maggie Roche is a genius. (This point deserves its own paragraph.)
As musicians and vocalists, both Maggie and Terre are consummate performers and seem to effortlessly execute with proficiency and grace.
This album is a must-have for Roches fans and would quickly become a favorite of anyone that likes fine acoustic instrumentals and utterly exquisite vocals -- fans of folk and country music would be well pleased but, really, anyone that appreciates good music would have plenty to enjoy. Good music is good music. Do yourself a favor and don't miss this great sampling."