Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Hammond Song

Song: Hammond Song
Artist: The Roches
Album: The Roches

The Roches are a female trio of folk-singing sisters that formed in the 70's from New York City (by way of Park Ridge, NJ.) They released their classic self-titled debut in 1979 and have continued to release albums and tour to this day, most recently with 2007's "Moonswept." I'd heard of these girls before but only recently got their debut. And what an odd little record it is. produced by Robert Fripp, who was looking for "the perfect sound" and got it with the harmonies these sisters were capable of. He employed "audio verite" approach to recording the girls and the results are pretty remarkable. Most of the record has very little "music" to it, only a very simplistic acoustic guitar usually in the background. Their voices are brought to the front (and the side, and the back, and you name it) and the combo of the three (Maggie's alto, Terre's soprano, and Suzzy's in-between range) is actually pretty mind-blowing. With the right headphones, the music seems to actually come ALIVE. It's rather wild.

The album opens with the goofy get-to-know-us track "We." Another large aspect of the girls charm is their laid-back humor, which can be found in their lyrics, and aparently their stage presence. Track two, "Mr. Hammond" is a real mind blower... employing both acoustic and electric guitar (again minimally) it reminds me a little of Radiohead's "High & Dry" musically, but it's those voices... they merge together in a way that they become one, or two, again... I can only describe it as alive. Amazing. The rest of the album is more upbeat and folky and has a charm that is hard to resist.

Certainly not for everyone's taste, but if you like folk, this is a touchstone album. I could only find live clips on YouTube, but it's REALLY important to hear some of their recorded work. Amazing.


Hammond Song (live)

Hallelujah Chorus (live)

Christmas Caroling (performing songs from their popular hoiday album "We Three Kings"

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