Songs from an Unmarried Housewife and Mother, Greenwich Village, USA
Red House Records
by Virginia Wagner
This is a marvelous CD with all the elements of folk/pop we've come to expect from Suzzy Roche. This is her second solo album, following her first solo effort, 1997's Holy Smokes, also on Red House Records. |
As a member of the Roche Sisters (not defunct, but currently on hiatus), she delivered quirky harmonies that were always dead on, and she does so here, sometimes with sister Maggie or daughter Lucy. The harmonies always produce gorgeous results.
The poetry in the songs is lovely, too. In Looking for God she sings, "That is quite a fairy tale. Gimme something real. Go back, re-read the very last page, cracking there to feel."
Players on this CD include David Mansfield, Steuart Smith, Sammy Merendino, Paul Ossola, Frank Vilardi, Fred Parcells, Stewart Lerman (who co-produced the project with Suzzy) and Curtis Stigers. On vocals, Maggie Roche, Lucy Roche, Loudon Wainwright and Jules Shear lend their considerable talents.
Suzzy covers Cold Hard Wind by Jules Shear and Steve Booker in a bluegrass arrangement that moves along.
I particularly like To Alaska With Love---a kind of a midlife-crisis song with a happy ending. I loved the rhyme, "Calendar pages were flipping. He stayed home waiting, saying, 'oh this woman I love is so irritating.'"
In Love Comes to Town co-written with Lonesome Val, she talks about love "Sneakin' up on you in the A&P. Somewhere in frozen foods there's a tropical breeze."
Part of what makes Suzzy Roche so endearing is her use of the familiar to touch the universal. The listener becomes, for a short while, a part of her world and is made to feel most welcome.
Another nice thing about this CD is you can listen to it over and over and it doesn't grow old quickly. New lines jump out at you with each listen. It's soft and melodic, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's a collection of simple folk songs; in fact, its complexity is part of the overall beauty.
If you're a fan of the Roches, or even if Suzzy Roche is completely new to you, I recommend this disk. You won't be disappointed.