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Mother Superior

От Michael Baryshnikov (2:5023/24.3243) к All

В ответ на Заголовок предыдущего сообщения в треде (Имя Автора)

Hello All!

Залит Mother_Superior/(1975)_Mother_Superior

Первый и единственный альбом девочковой прогрессив-рок-группы из 70-х. Также известен под названием "Lady Madonna".
В принципе, интересно, немного попсово. Самая худшая вещь - вот как раз сама Леди Мадонна.
Рекомендуется почти исключительно археологам.

(c) Mother Superior biography, PA

UK band MOTHER SUPERIOR was formed in the summer of 1974, when bassist Jackie Badger turns up for an audition to join UK band Cosmetix and finds the main members of that band in an almighty row that ends their history there and then. She opts to hook up Jackie Crew and Audrey Swinburne now formerly of Cosmetix, and through and ad in Melody Maker New Zealand musician Lesley Sly becomes the final member of the new band, and following a long session involving substantial amounts of alcohol they come up with the band name Mother Superior.

The band is actively gigging whenever and wherever they can, performing in pubs, at air-force bases and later on a number of gigs in Central Europe follows. While they do build up a regular fanbase, the UK record labels aren't overly keen on signing this all girl band. As bassist Jackie Brewster revealed in her blog: "One night at the Golden Lion, the place is rammed with an audience of men and women, Sony have sent an A and R man down who says to us after two encores, that he can't see who our market is, women would be jealous of us and men wouldn't buy our records because their girlfriends wouldn't like it. "

At that point in time this isn't a great concern for the band. They have recorded their debut album in the usual manner of a new band their label doesn't really think too much of - late night sessions handled by inexperienced studio techs promising that "it will be all right in the mix". The album is subsequently released on a small Swedish label attached to their own label Polydor, which does give the band a good reason to tour Scandinavia the following year. That their label chose to call the album "Lady Madonna" just one more decision made that wasn't approved by the band members.

Following extensive gigging, a label not really believing in the band, the usual on the road hassles and management problems, line-up alterations and day to day problems became the order of the day for Mother Superior. They decided to call it quits in 1977, their final gig performed on December 9th.

Mother Superior aka Lady Madonna
Mother Superior
Crossover Prog, 1975
(c) Review by siLLy puPPy, PA

Progressive rock has been traditionally deemed a male dominated music perhaps for its emphasis on abstract lyrical content, technical workouts and let's not forget the good ole boys network in the old music industry however women have of course been included in the genre since it began albeit in subordinate roles. What has been practically non-existent though is an exclusively all female band in prog. Sure all girl groups were quite popular in 1960s pop and soul music but in prog? I'd bet nobody can name very many examples. Well, believe it or not there have been a handful of all female prog bands ranging from Japan's OOIOO and Tricot in the modern world but it will come as a surprise to many that MOTHER SUPERIOR existed as far back as 1974-77 and existed as an all-female lineup long enough to record its only album LADY MADONNA which emerged in 1975.

MOTHER SUPERIOR formed in London in 1974 and consisted of New Zealand native Lesley Sly (vocals, keyboards), Audrey Swinburne (vocals, guitars), Jackie Badger (bass, vocals) and Jackie Crew (drums, vocals). While a rare breed indeed where a band consisted of four women who played their own instruments and crafted a unique blend of British prog and standard rock with jazz overtones was unheard of but the novelty managed to attract the attention of Polydor Records which released its album. The album title LADY MADONNA was a reference to The Beatles song of the same name and the album even includes an interesting cover version that takes on a classic ragtime performance of the track. Comparisons with Earth and Fire, Fusion Orchestra and Sandrose have been made even regarding the musical style. Basically MOTHER SUPERIOR crated a crossover style of prog and classic rock that added intricate keyboard runs and subtle complexities to a more basic melodic rock approach.

While women in the 1970s were pretty much limited to the role of lead singer with an occasional rhythm instrument thrown in for good measure, MOTHER SUPERIOR not only wrote their music but performed it admirably as well. The band toured England and Europe extensively during its short existence and if you have any doubts that females couldn't be excellent musicians in prog rock then just check out the excellent instrumental "Ticklish Allsorts" on this album and you'll be set straight. Clearly from one spin of LADY MADONNA it becomes clear that it wasn't talent that was the limiting factor but perhaps image. Even though the feminist movement and women's rights were strong in the cultural consciousness, the world of prog and music biz in general probably wasn't quite ready for a group of strong women cranking out catchy yet sophisticated music of their own making. LADY MADONNA is an instantly lovable album that showcases not only some interesting prog chops but also a womanly way of tackling prog with sensual interpretations of an oft knotty angular music known for its abstractness.

With a typical LP run of just over 39 minutes, LADY MADONNA featured seven tracks opening with the instantly infectious "No Time Toulouse Lautrec" which starts things off with an eerie intro that keeps you in suspense until a funky bass, clever keyboard use and rock guitar joins in. The harmonic vocal approach adds a sensual touch to the hard rock and proggy breakdowns and keyboard runs add the proper touches to elevate MOTHER SUPERIOR out of mere Heart territory. BTW these gals emerged a year before Heart released its debut "Dreamboat Annie." The following "Just One Look" continues the songwriting ingenuity with a bouncy rocker that adds some moody atmospheric keyboards and excellent vocal harmony engineering. Also notable is Lesley Sly's honky tonk piano attacks. By the time "Mood Merchant" arrives as the third track, it's more than obvious that MOTHER SUPERIOR was much more than a novelty as a token all-female prog band. These girls were quite talented and to my ears reminds me more of crossover bands like Argent with clever hook-laden riffs, excellent tight-knit instrumental interplay and brilliant contrapuntal melodic tapestries.

Despite all efforts on the band's part, the record company didn't take MOTHER SUPERIOR seriously enough and didn't promote them. In fact despite being from the UK, a British release wasn't secured and unfortunately this band is scarcely known even by modern prog stalwarts. True that MOTHER SUPERIOR was very much in the crossover camp with instantly addictive melodies and a standard classic rock approach augmented by proggy accoutrements but was clearly talented in both the songwriting department as well as the musical delivery. Personally i was quite surprised how good this one was. While the album cover suggests a proto-version of the Runaways, MOTHER SUPERIOR was in a league of its own as far as all-female bands are concerned for this era. Unfortunately after this album appeared the lineup started to disintegrate and even male members were recruited but unfortunately momentum was lost and the band called it quits leaving this sole album as the woefully single example of an entire female band that crossed over into prog in the 1970s. This is not to be missed!

WBR, Michael Baryshnikov.

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