Friday, December 18, 2015

Isis - 1975 - Ain't No Backin' Up Now

Ain't No Backin' Up Now


01. Ain't No Backin' Up Now
02. Icy Winds
03. Old Stories
04. Gold
05. Eat the Root
06. Bobbie & Maria
07. Lost Romeo
08. Come One, Come All
09. Sunshine Tree

Alto Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Backing Vocals – Edith Dankowitz
Bass, Vocals – Stella Bass
Congas – Liberty Mata
Drums, Percussion – Ginger Bianco
Lead Guitar – Renate Ferrer
Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar – Carol MacDonald
Organ, Piano, Clavinet, Synthesizer [Arp], Backing Vocals – Margo Lewis
Tenor Saxophone, Flute [Solos] – Jeanie Fineberg
Trombone, Vocals – Lolly Bienenfield
Trumpet – Ellen Seeling

Isis made three albums in a career that stretched to six or seven years, produced, respectively, by Shadow Morton, Alain Toussaint and Len Barry! That covers quite a lot of ground, and so did the band, whose sound managed to cram in spiky R&B, soul-jazz, blues, smooth soul, straight-out pop and Santana-esque rock, with an air that ranged from sweetly hippie to proudly feminist (as you might expect from an all-woman band in the early 1970s, when such things were in the air). This, their second album, is the Toussaint-produced one, and he's quite the presence: he also wrote about half the record, leaving the others to the band (in particular singer Carol Macdonald, who also acts as producer on her tracks). I prefer the debut, which is more exciting and eccentric (and has a different band line-up), but this one is probably more consistent and immediate. The title track and "Icy Winds" would make a fine addition to your mid-'70s mixtape, although the album's highlight is Macdonald's "Bobbie and Maria", a touching tale of same-sex longing. Macdonald's singing don't hurt a bit either.

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