I had the tape of the
original Columbia album, with a different cover. They wore long, colorful
skirts and seemed to be floating in the air. I like the cover of this reissue
too, just the two of them in tank tops, sitting on a couch.
The album is still as
wonderful as when I heard it last, decades ago. I wore out the tape with
repeated playings. The songs are terrific. The sisters already had their
harmonies down. The lyrics are, by turns, heartbreaking and funny, with wry and
dry humor. While the music is very much of its time, it has timeless qualities,
so it's still accessible today. You could even say its a prototype for indie
folk, or indie, period.
But it’s the lyrics, their
sexual politics, counterculture consciousness, and flashes of 70s
non-ideological feminism that make it a lost classic at the very least, and one
of the greatest albums of all time at the most, because the subjects are
handled in a way that still rings true, giving them a universal appeal.
I love the Roches as a
trio. Suzzy is way cool, but Maggie, with her great alto, and Terrie's
soprano--there just isn’t anything like it. If you know their song “We” from
their first trio album, with its line “guess which two of us made a record,”
this is the record that song is referring to. If you love that album, I think
you'll love this one, too. And long live Maggie, who lost her battle with
breast cancer on January 21st 2017. This review is my tribute to her.