Monday, December 31, 2012

Nineteen/Charleston/Mescaline


Original Facebook post here.
Today's formative album replay: Seductive Reasoning by Maggie and Terre Roche. I'm so glad I sought out this obscure gem in the late '80s when someone (I don't recall who) tipped me that the Roches had a "prequel"--that deep-voiced songsmith Maggie and white-soul soprano Terre had made a secret masterpiece with Paul Simon producing and the Muscle Shoals rhythm section backing in the years before spark-plug Suzzy joined the band and rounded out the brilliant folk/novelty trio the world would later come to know.

This 1975 record is short, bittersweet, and meticulously produced--I might say over-produced if the cross-genre ambitions and compositional range of this duo (with Maggie doing pretty much all the writing and Terre the lion's share of the lead singing) didn't have ample room for all the layers and textures, including even backup vocals by the Oak Ridge Boys. Maggie's precocious, country-inflected songs are full of humor and heartbreak, along with a lot more Joni-style piano than ever made it onto later Roches records, for an effect that evokes a weirder, wackier McGarrigle Sisters.

The searing coming-of-age song "West Virginia" is a particular favorite--it's just waiting for a young cabaret-popster like Regina Spektor or Madeleine Peyroux to rescue it from obscurity with a well-timed cover.

Comments:
Carrie Yoshimura Farnham How is it possible I don't know this album? I am adding it to my list!
Rob Weinert-Kendt Carrie, because it's super hard to find. I think I found the LP only after hours of Arons Records diving...the good news it was just made available on CD again last May http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0068WKSKQ 
Carrie Yoshimura Farnham Good news! I was putting together an Amazon list for when I get home.
Mary Kate Karr Petras Thanks for the review. I've had this (on vinyl) since the 80s, partly because of the Roches, partly because of the Paul Simon connection. I didn't give it many listens, perhaps because I missed that 3rd voice, or maybe because of the production you mentioned. I'll have to fire up the turntable and give it another spin.
Rob Weinert-Kendt Mary Kate: Start with "West Virginia" (heartrending) and "The Mountain People" (wryly funny). It's a loopy but rewarding collection, and those are two good entry points.

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