Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March is Women's History Month -- who knew?

My friend Richie informed me that it's Women's History Month. That's why he's an historian--he's doing his job; a rock historian actually--a title he chuckles over. But it's true. He's written ten books on rock history, particularly hidden, obscure rock history. He's providing us with a needed service and it's fun to study. Plus he holds informal talks at local Bay Area libraries where he shows rare film clips of amazing performances, plies us with trivia questions, and makes rock and pop music a community event. Here are some performers he recently featured at the Moraga Library for women in music day. Thanks, Richie. It's good to unearth the unearthly.

Brenda Lee and her incredible voice. Also known as Little Miss Dynamite, he was singing professionally as a child due to her wonderful throaty growling abilities. And she caught the ear of many rockers throughout the years. She helped create rock & roll.

Wanda Jackson is as cool as anyone you'll find in the history of rock. She's a pioneer of rockabilly. She was Elvis' girlfriend. She still plays live shows and records. She's a goddess with a guitar.

The Crystals--I love their classy look.

And the fabulous Ronnettes. I love Phil Spector's wall of sound, but I hate that guy for (among other things) forcibly "retiring" Ronnie Spector during their marriage. What a loss to the 60s sound.

Nina Simone was a musical and poetical force of timeless emotional intensity.

Nina Simone 2-fer.

Pentangle, 1968 with Jacqui McShee on vocals. I don't usually notice the rhythm section of a folk ensemble, but this rocks.

Patti Smith is so comfortable leading a band and flat out being herself.

Shonen Knife has always been true to their brightly colored childlike aesthetic. It's not their fault that this point most of their fans are a bunch of annoying hipsters.

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