Friday, July 31, 2009

Ladies W.C. - Ladies W.C (1969)

Steve Scott (vocals, bass)
Mario Seijas (drums)
Jaime Seijas (vocals, guitar)
Adid Casta (vocals, guitar)

Credit to the band this much — they actually went right ahead and started their album with a flushing toilet, living up to their name and album art (the latter provided by guitarist/organist Adib Casta, later to gain more fame for his paintings). That droll touch aside, Ladies WC's sole album, like that of many one-offs from the Latin American late-'60s rock scene, is caught somewhere between moments of individual flair and amiable imitation of obvious favorites. Reissued by the Shadoks label in 2004 as part of their continuing exhumation of various small-release rarities — the original album only received a pressing of 4,000 in 1969 — it's still one of the more enjoyable full-lengths to get a digital revival. In his liner notes, bassist Steve Scott, the one American member of the Venezuelan quartet and co-writer of most of the songs with Casta, speaks of their love of such acts as Paul Butterfield, early Steve Miller, Cream, and so forth. There's little question that if one has heard enough electric blues-rock of the period that there won't be many surprises with songs like "Heaven's Coming Up" and "Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke It." To their credit, though, the quartet created a slew of originals instead of simply energetically delivering covers, and that plus their own exuberance means an album that throws in a few curve balls along the way, making an enjoyable listen. The occasional ballads are particularly lovely in a soft, drifting psychedelic way — "To Walk On Water" blends low-key harmonica, chimes, and an echoed vocal to striking effect. The signature touch on the album is a series of sound effects rather than silence separating each of the songs — fire engines, applause, and so forth — and while it wasn't an innovation on their part, it's still amusing enough. 

1 People 2:41
2 I Can't See Straight 3:20
3 To Walk On Water 3:26
4 Heaven's Coming Up 4:22
5 And Everywhere I See the Shadow of That Life 3:25
6 Searching for a Meeting Place 2:49
7 Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke It 3:11
8 The Time of Hope Is Gone 2:35
9 W.E. Blues 2:53
10 I'm Gonna Be 5:48
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