Her third album that was refused to issue by Elektra. A dedicated group of fans raised the money to buy the tapes back from Elektra and was eventually released on the indie label Discovery. Features Adrian Belew, Tony Levi... more »n and David Sancious.« less
Her third album that was refused to issue by Elektra. A dedicated group of fans raised the money to buy the tapes back from Elektra and was eventually released on the indie label Discovery. Features Adrian Belew, Tony Levin and David Sancious.
D. P. (MusicMan) from NEW YORK, NY Reviewed on 2/6/2007...
Very enjoyable album by this talented singer/songwriter, maybe her best. Insert booklet has all lyrics.
Jimmie D. (Starbuck) from FORT WORTH, TX Reviewed on 12/5/2006...
If you are a fan, this is the CD to own.
A Fairy Tale of an Album
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 02/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sara Hickman is one of many female artists that scored record deals during a craze when all sorts of "women in rock" were getting signed. Once Tracy Chapman and Natalie Merchant gave proof to the industry that dance divas weren't the only women that could hit number one, the labels went on a feeding frenzy. A few were actually successful (think The Indigo Girls and Melissa Etheridge), many got critically noticed (remember Tinita Tickeram?) but a lot of the ones that got critical acclaim also didn't sell huge numbers. Such is the case with Sara Hickman, who's two albums to appear on Elektra were given strong reviews, some modest airplay ("I Couldn't Help Myself" and "Blue Eyes Are Sensitive to the Light") but only so-so commercial success. As she prepared to turn in her third album to the Elektra label, they decided they would exercise their option to pass on the tapes, and dropped Sara from their artists roster. When Sara put in a request to issue the music on her own, she was told that she could, but only if she bought her own mastertapes back.Basically heartbroken, Sara retreated to Texas. It was her mom who made the kind of brilliant suggestion that only a mother could make, in the form of asking Sara is she could hold a bake sale or some similar fund raiser. Of course, on its face, the suggestion sounds ludicrous, but Sara got to thinking about it. If her fan base (and we are a loyal lot) would be willing to purchase a listing on the CD itself, perhaps THAT would be enough to rescue the album from gathering dust in a vault somewhere.And even as far fetched as that idea seemed, somehow, it worked. Not only did Sara manage to raise the necessary funds, she managed to negotiate the price down. The money she raised was used to obtain the tapes, and also to start a childrens' fund that Sara maintains to this day. Once the tapes were hers to release, the fledgling company Discovery Records agreed to release "Necessary Angels." (Now for the irony: Discovery, as is Elektra, was a Time/Warner company. So in essence, Warners paid for the album twice. For the current decade's version, see Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.")After all that, how does "Necessary Angels" hold up after over a decade? Quite well. "Pursuit Of Happiness" and "The Best of Times" contain the kind of message that never loses its integrity. "Tiger in a Teacup Town" is the kind of humorous song that Sara excels in, especially live. And there are the kinds of touching folk songs that make you love the serenity of a simple acoustic guitar ("Joy" and "Sister and Sam"). It's enough to make you believe in the occasional miracle in the world that "Necessary Angels" saw the light of day. Maybe you haven't heard of Sara Hickman before (if you're reading this, I kinda doubt it), but she's too good to keep under wraps."
An Angel of an Album
Marsha B. Rupe | Albuquerque, NM | 04/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I already owned the first two Sara Hickman albums when I found this CD in a cut-out bin. At first, I felt it paled in comparision to her first two albums, "Equal Scary People," and, "Shortstop." However, after repeated listenings, this has become my favorite Sara Hickman album. Full of personal, heartfelt observations of the world around her, the strength of "Necessary Angels" is Sara's songwriting. Unlike her previous album, "Shortstop," which leaned more toward acoustic pop, this album is driven primarily by acoustic folk, most notably the impressionistic "Shadowboxing," the emotional examination of "Time Will Tell," a wonderful piece about the circle of life as represented by women in her family titled "Sister and Sam," and "Joy," a beautiful observations on the life of a homeless woman. Sara's everpresent optimism and nostalgia can be found in the bouncing, rollicking memory of girlhood, "The Place Where the Garage Used to Stand," and the uptempo "Tiger in a Teacup Town." I consider this CD a treasure, in part because it is becoming more difficult to find, and again because this album was almost not released. Sara's record company refused to release the tapes, and she had to raise money from "necessary angels" to buy back the master tapes. Money well spent, any way you look at it."
A nice effort by an artist never truly caught in the studio
Robert H. Nunnally Jr. | Allen, TX United States | 06/07/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sara Hickman is one of those curious singers whose live work is always warm, intriguing and vibrant, but whose recorded works rarely impress the way her live shows do. She was one of the best acts to emerge from the Dallas/Austin musical renaissance of the middle 1980s, but her energetic neo-folk with pop tinges have befuddled producers who have tried to capture her sound. The usual result is overproduction, placing this acoustic guitar artist with a live pared-down sound into a wall of easy listening sound on disk. Only a few songs, such as "Last Night was a Big Rain" off her original four dots initial release, really catch her at her best. Although it is fashionable to suggest that any studio failing of an artist is the result of some record company shortcoming, this really does seem to be a case when a simple woman-with-a-guitar singer/songwriter gets totally lost among the commercial modes current over the last decade and a half. While it's been an excellent time for the angry singer-songwriter, none of her producers seem to know quite what to do with the serious but not cheerless Ms. Hickman. Necessary Angels is one of her finer efforts, because many of the songs feature more or less simple accompaniment to her smooth, enchanting voice. There are a few quibbles--production tricks to "enhance the timbre" which instead coat a mild bit of saccharine over the proceedings, and harmonies that make a song here and there just a bit sweet. Overall, this is a good CD. Still, someday Sara Hickman may release the album that captures Sara Hickman the way she sounds in concert. When she does, I hope it's a giant boxed set, because I'd like a dozen."
Can you wear out a CD??
Mark E. Henze | Whittier, CA USA | 08/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've worn out many records and cassettes in my day, but this will likely be the first CD I wear out. From the uplifting Best of Times through the fun of Tiger in a Teacup Town and Where the Garage Used to Stand, this one has played over and over. A Room of One's Own should have been a classic of all time. This is the only CD I've ever given to a friend where the person later took me aside and thanked me for turning him on to the artist...and his daughter loves it too ... I had to buy her one! Thanks Sara!"
Always at Her Best
Mark E. Henze | 03/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One again Sara Hickman has found just the right combination of air and spirit to present her wonderful vocal and song writing talents. She takes me on a ride from fantasy, with the symbolic "Tiger In A Teacup Town", to teary eyed memories of my own beloved grandmother with "Sister And Sam." She has the uncanny ability to raise her voice like an angel while spilling her emotions, her creativiy at our feet in unashamed clarity. The melodies and lyrics of "Shadow Boxing" will stay with you and haunt you long after the CD has stopped spinning. This release is a must have for anyone who likes to be touched by the music and vocals of an insightful inspired artist. Sara never stops touching me. No matter how many times I listen to her songs, her words, her music."