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Sunday, November 18, 2012



– “It’s Alright Ma” b/w “You’re So Great” (iTunes Exclusive) :: As much as I’ve admired a ton of them over the years, there aren’t too many women in rock that I ever went right rangy for; in fact, you can count them on the fingers of one fist: Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane; Annette Peacock; Wendy Herman of Angletrax; Diamanda Galás; and Wendy James of Transvision Vamp.

Up until now, it’s been a heretofore little known fact that, along with being the shadowy host of The Machine Rock Show on Rogers Television in the ’80s, I was also the host of three dusk to dawn radio programs, all of which redefined what the medium could do to support all nite listeners who were either coming home from the bars or coming down from the drugs: The Air Pirates Show on CHRY in Downsview during the ’70s, where I first met fellow radio host and ethnomusicologist Rob Bowman; The Air Pirates Show on CKLN in Toronto during the ’80s, where I next met fellow radio host and ethnomusicologist Rob Bowman; and The Air Pirates Show on CFCR in Saskatoon during the ’90s, where I finally managed to ditch former radio host and ethnomusicologist Rob Bowman because even he didn’t dare follow me into the land of the ice and snow where minus 40 degree temperatures were the snowstorm norm.

That said, after spending a year and a half heating their ratings while freezing my tuchus, I decided to move back to Toronto where the living is peasy. As a parting gift, CFCR’s station manager offered me my pick of any poster hanging on the studio walls; an easy choice given that they only had two posters hanging on the studio walls: a large Nine Inch Nails poster signed “Trent Reznor” and a glossy Transvision Vamp poster of a topless Wendy James signed “Love, Wendy xoxox.” Dim the lights, you can guess the rest.

Now it’s two thousand and twelve, okay, and one of my five favorite jean-creamin’ dreams is back across the USA with a sizzling double A side single that’ll stick to your two tympanic membranes like a burst wad of Dubble Bubble. First up to the plate is Wendy’s glass-shattering, speaker-shredding, seven minute long cover of “It’s Alright Ma” which admirably re-defines Bob Dylan for a whole new generation of dissipated denizens just as Bryan Ferry’s version of “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” did likewise back in the ’70s.

Even better, Wendy’s eloquently animated vocal delivery is solidly sutured into place by the heavier than heavy and immediately identifiable work of Raw Power and Kill City guitarist James Williamson—but nothing you’ve ever heard from either of these two reprobates in the past will even come close to preparing you for the seven second straight-jacket stretch of supersonics that starts things off.

While you’re going down to Sister James’ infirmary, dig the flip side and get an instant earful education on how versatile this chippy really is with her chirpy power pop remake/remodel of the Sonic’s Rendezvous Band staple “You’re So Great,” which is so ginchily groovy it’ll have you thinking that Fred “Sonic” Smith wrote it exclusively for Wendy—and my friend, after hearing it, can you prove that he didn’t?

Speaking of exclusivity, click on that above-noted “iTunes Exclusive” link and download yourself a pulse-pounding double shot emblematic of the music that made Michigan famous. Bonus points for including the always enjoyable boss baritone sax stylings of Fun House and The Weirdness stalwart Steve Mackay!

Be seeing you!

Sun, November 18, 2012 | link 

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