Tag Archives: suzzy roche

I Love that Album! #2: The Roches (s/t) (1979)

by Alan Haber alan 5 small

the rochesIt seemed to fall from out of the sky, so different was it from everything else, its descent to earth slow and determined and harmony bound, as if protected by angels who knew that it was a gift from heaven. So it was, and on into the marketplace it went.

The Roches, Maggie, Terre and Suzzy, clearly a collective gift so pure and honest and true, recorded their first album as a trio with Robert Fripp, who produced the self-titled collection at New York’s Hit Factory in “audio verité,” with engineer Ed Sprigg at the controls. Instrumentation was spare throughout, with only acoustic guitars, synthesizer, bass, triangle, and shaker supporting the sisters’ lovely lead and harmony close-miked vocals, positioned up front where they clearly belonged. These are intimate performances, beautifully realized.

Released in 1979 on Warner Brothers, The Roches was like nothing that had come before in the rock era. It wasn’t rock and it wasn’t roll; it wasn’t folk or strictly pop but, rather, a meeting of the genre minds with glorious harmony singing and lovely melodies. The 10 songs were pretty and clever and, really, pretty clever. Written by the three sisters both separately and as a trio, they were, and continue to be, powerful specimens.

maggie and terre roche seductive reasoningMaggie and Terre had come into view earlier in the seventies; they sang backup on Paul Simon’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon in 1973, on a wistful song called “Was a Sunny Day,” a lazy kind of summer, slice of life character number. Two years later, the duo released an album called Seductive Reasoning, a collection of astounding songs mostly written by Maggie and with the cleverly-titled “If You Empty Out Your Pockets You Could Not Make the Change,” which was produced by Simon.

phoebe snow against the grainAnd then 1979 beckoned, and The Roches was released. Maggie’s “The Married Men,” a song about women hanging on to the words of cads who promised their secret crushes everything and, in the end, delivered nothing everlasting, was one of the highlights of the album; the song was recorded by Phoebe Snow on her Against the Grain album a year earlier.

But there were other astounding songs on offer. Certainly the opener, “We,” a wry musical introduction to the sisters, was a blast of a melodic calling card, a two-and-a-half minute how-they-got-here song that spelled it all out, including admissions that the Roches didn’t give out their phone numbers, and lived in New York City by way of “deepest New Jersey” (“We better get [outta] there/Before the shit hits the fan”).

Maggie’s glorious “Hammond Song” and “Quitting Time” were highlights, too; the former about keeping from going down the wrong path, and the latter about living the life that makes you happy (“You can go south in winter/Be what you are a goose/Honk all the moon out the ocean/Your clothes can fit you loose”). Clever wordplay was clearly in evidence.

Terre’s “Mr. Sellack” tells the story of a person who pleads with the owner of a restaurant to give her her job back, even though he might not remember her (“O Mr. Sellack/I didn’t think I’d be back/I worked here last year/Remember?”). Melodically strong and full of rich vocal harmony, the lyrical wordplay is clever: “Waiting tables ain’t that bad/Since I’ve seen you last/I’ve waited for some things that you would not believe/To come true.”

train carSuzzy’s atmospheric, practically Hitchcockian “The Train” charts the travels of a narrator who is trying to make it through, but has to endure obstacles (“I spy on the big guy/Sitting next to me/He’s drinking two beers/And reading the New York Post/Trying not to get in my way/Everybody knows the kind of day that is”).

the roches nurdsThe Roches was followed by the otherworldly Nurds in 1980, a different kind of album stacked full of classic songs such as Terre’s examination of the inner psyche, “My Sick Mind,” and Suzzy and Terre’s hysterical, tongue-planted-so-firmly-in-cheek-it-hurts “The Death of Suzzy Roche” (in which the battle for top dog in the laundromat is settled with comically violent results). A sterling, a cappella rendition of Cole Porter’s “It’s Bad for Me” provided, perhaps, some much-needed balance.

The Roches’ rich, natural vocal blend is a collective thing of beauty, just as it was on the sisters’ debut album, which sounds as fresh today as it did 37 years ago. The Roches continue to sound pure and honest and true.

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We’re Serving Up the Cream of the Crop On This Week’s Specialty Shows

mic-small 10It’s a week of stars on Pure Pop Radio’s specialty shows: Cream, Denny Laine and Muddy Waters are on the turntable during an all-new Needle Meets Vinyl; Paul McCartney’s golden voice is discussed on an all-new Things We Said Today, and Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche talk about their latest album on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.

lucy wainwright roche and suzzy roches mud and appleslucy and suzzy rocheTonight at 8 pm ET on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, Suzzy Roche and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche, talk with Alan Haber about Mud and Apples, a sparkling duo collection that features warm harmonies, clever original songwriting and the inclusion of beautifully-sung covers such as Paul Simon’s “Bleecker Street” and the Cascades’ “Rhythm of the Rain.” Mud and Apples is one of this year’s top expressions of musical joy.

needle meets vinylTomorrow night, July 6 at 8 pm ET, Brian Bringelson spins the classic sides that light up your musical life on Needle Meets Vinyl. Brian pours a bit of Cream, the Hollies, the Mindbenders, The Journeymen, and man more of your favorite artists, and it’s all from vinyl. It’s another spectacular episode of your favorite all-vinyl program.

the-beatles-things-we-said-todayThis Thursday night, July 7 at 8 pm ET, Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman and Allan Kozinn man the microphones on Things We Said Today. They discuss the state of the Beatles’ inner circle, which is getting smaller due to some wonderful people passing on. Also under discussion: the quality of Paul McCartney’s voice. Does this do damage to his legacy? All this, and, yes, the Pure McCartney discussion makes another appearance!

Don’t miss this week’s selection of specialty shows on Pure Pop Radio!

alan-mic-zeeAlan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Monkees, the Posies, McPherson Grant, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Tune in by clicking on one of the listen links below.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android and iOS devices! Download Our Mobile App.

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche Guest on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation Next Tuesday

lucy and suzzy rocheIt is my great pleasure to speak with Suzzy Roche and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche, on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation next Tuesday night, July 5, at 8 pm ET.

Listeners will likely be familiar with Suzzy Roche from her many years singing with her sisters Maggie and Terre in the Roches, New Jersey’s first family of musical wit and harmonic sophistication. If Lucy Wainwright Roche is familiar to you, then you’ll be ahead of the game. If not, you’re in for a treat.

lucy wainwright roche and suzzy roches mud and applesMud and Apples, Lucy and Suzzy’s recently-released album, is a sparkling duo collection that features warm harmonies, clever original songwriting and the inclusion of beautifully-sung covers such as Paul Simon’s “Bleecker Street” and the Cascades’ “Rhythm of the Rain.” Mud and Apples is an 11 track masterpiece that is surely one of this year’s top expressions of musical joy.

During this program, Lucy and Suzzy talk about, and I spin, three songs from Mud and Apples. The duo will also talk about how they approach the art of songwriting, and much more.

This is a charming half-hour that you will treasure listening to. Be with me next Tuesday night, July 5, at 8 pm ET for Lucy Wainwright Roche and Suzzy Roche on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.

– Alan Haber

alan-mic-zeeAlan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Monkees, the Posies, McPherson Grant, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Tune in by clicking on one of the listen links below.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android and iOS devices! Download Our Mobile App.

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

New on Pure Pop Radio 6.27.16

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Spins and Reviews | June 27, 2016 | by Alan Haber

We kick off this last week of June with a trio of tempting platters…

lucy wainwright roche and suzzy roches mud and applesLucy Wainwright Roche and Suzzy Roche | Mud & Apples Fans of the Roches, New Jersey’s first family of musical wit and harmonic sophistication, will be over the moon for this sparkling duo release from Suzzy Roche and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche. Warm harmonies, clever songwriting and the inclusion of  beautifully-sung covers such as Paul Simon’s “Bleecker Street” and the Cascades’ “Rhythm of the Rain” push this 11 track masterpiece into hall-of-fame territory. Surely one of this year’s top expressions of musical joy.
Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: The entire album. “Cold October Day,” “Melancholy Ways,” “Mary,” “Rhythm of the Rain,” “Mud and Apples,” “Bleecker Street,” “There’s a Guy,” “Both Sides Now,” “Desperado,” “Dinner Out,” and “Landslide.”


james starflower- so let's bring on the gershwin girlsjames starflower pet your stereoJames Starflower | Pet Your Stereo
 Pop smarts shower these 10 imagination-fueled songs, produced by Fernando Perdomo with his usual magic touch. The Lennonesque “Baby This is Your Life,” which takes a 360-degree turn towards the end with a Paul McCartney-accented “Hello Goodbye” fade, and the rocker “Echolocation,” with its shimmering guitars and impassioned vocals, lead the pack. Pet’s bonus track, the amazing, 1930s-meets-Beatles-meets-today retro gem “So Let’s Bring on the Gershwin Girls,” is another winner. Another great album, full of invention and whip-smart performances, that will surely hang its hat on a variety of best-of lists this year.
Now Playing in Rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Baby this is Your Life,” “Black Light Star Flower,” “Fade,” “The Geisha’s Guru,” “Mister Goodheart,” “Pet Your Stereo,” “Rabbithole Blues,” and “Welcome 2 Heaven.”

bryan estepaBryan Estepa and the Tempe Two | Every Little Thing Sydney, Australia’s Bryan Estepa, veteran of late ’90s band Swivel and a long-standing solo artist, takes center stage with this top-notch collection of melodic etchings. Single-worthy popper “Don’t Hurry Baby” is a wonderful highlight, as is the gorgeous ballad “Sooner or Later.” Missing this one shouldn’t be an option. Put Every Little Thing on your to-own list.
Now Playing in Rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Headlights,” “Object of My Disaffection,” “Sooner or Later,” “Don’t Hurry Baby,” “Empty Handed,” and “Count Your Blessings.”

alan-mic-zeeAlan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio is the original 24-hour Internet radio station playing the greatest melodic pop music from the ’60s to today. From the Beatles to the Monkees, the Posies, McPherson Grant, the Connection and the New Trocaderos, we play the hits and a whole lot more. Tune in by clicking on one of the listen links below.

Listen to Pure Pop Radio on the go using your Android and iOS devices! Download Our Mobile App.

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber's Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes

Click on the image to listen to Alan Haber’s Pure Pop Radio through players like iTunes