Monday, May 25, 2009

Fanny - Charity Ball (1971)


June Millington (vocals, guitar)
Nickey Barclay (vocals, keyboards)
Jean Millington (vocals, bass)
Alice de Buhr (vocals, drums)


Upon signing hard rock combo Fanny in 1970, Warner Bros. claimed their new acquisition was the first all-female rock & roll band — a statement far from the truth, of course, but as one of the first self-contained distaff groups to land on a major label, they were an important harbinger of things to come. Fanny formed in California under the name Wild Honey, teaming singer/guitarist June Millington, her bassist sister Jean, keyboardist Nickey Barclay, and drummer Alice de Buhr. With Wild Honey signing to Reprise, the new name Fanny was suggested to producer Richard Perry by no less than ex-Beatle George Harrison... Read More...


1. Charity Ball

2. What Kind of Lover

3. Cat Fever

4. A Person Like You

5. Special Care

6. What's Wrong With Me

7. Soul Child

8. You're the One

9. Thinking of You

10. Place in the Country

11. A Little While Later

12. No Deposit, No Return (previously unreleased)

13. Charity Ball (reprise single 1963)

14. True Blue (from the kitchen tapes)

15. Candlelighter Man (from the kitchen tapes)

16. Summer Song (from the kitchen tapes)


Review by Joe Viglione

With guitar and piano riffs buoyed by a pulsing bassline, the "Charity Ball" title track opens this second Reprise disc for the Millington sisters June and Jean, along with their bandmates, keyboard/vocalist Nickey Barclay and drummer Alice de Buhr. Produced by Richard Perry, who would hit later with the Pointer Sister's "I'm So Excited" and Carly Simon's "You're So Vain," Perry helped these pioneers put their artistry on vinyl when all girl musicians in a group were not the norm, and he, no doubt, got ideas here which resulted in hit recordings soon after. Perry had dated Ten Wheel Drive's Genya Ravan who had chart success in England with her all-girl band Goldie & the Gingerbreads, so he was one of the few guys privy to a wonderful conspiracy of women to break that glass ceiling of male rock & roll domination. Jean Millington, with an acoustic, reverb-soaked "What's Wrong With Me," is one flavor that this band of many talents has to offer. Just listen to Nickey Barclay's "A Little While Later" or June Millington's "Thinking of You," these songs are perfect in both construction and execution; in fact, the only deficiency is that Perry's production is not as lush and commercial as what he put on Ringo's "Photograph" — it's very bare, but that doesn't deny the wonderful hooks which conclude the album on "A Little While Later"'s fade where the gals absolutely rock out with passion. The album jacket is innovative as well, a proper invitation to you, the listener, from Fanny, placed atop hat and gloves, next to a stunning portrait of the group. There's only one cover on this 11 track collection, Stephen Stills' "Special Care," with keyboards that come straight from the Band's "Chest Fever." "What Kind of Lover" and "Cat Fever," two of Nickey Barclay's six contributions to the session, simply cry out for more frosting from producer Perry. Play this album next to a Jack Richardson production of the Guess Who from the same time period, and you'll feel the difference. What Perry presented is a stark and uncluttered performance by the band, which they could've done on a live album. Still, the songwriting and performance pass the test of time with flying colors. A really great document of true rock originals making a statement in the early '70s.


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