Sweet Suzi Pia Mamie Ginger

I loved glam-rock’s Suzi Quatro when I first heard 49 Crash on the radio. I dug her tough girl look & her edgy sexual energy. I have by Suzi: Suzi Quatro (1973) Who is she singing ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ to? Her girlfriend? Quatro: 1974) her self-penned Klondyke Kate might answer that question.; Mama Won’t Like Me (1975); Aggro Phobia (1976) that includes an excellent Heartbreak Hotel; Suzi … and Other Four Letter Words (1979).

Her sound moved gradually from glam-rock to hard rock. The lps are a mix of original songs written with Len Tucky, covers & pure pop bliss by songwriters & producers Mike Chapman & Nicky Chinn i.e. 48 Crash. I had all these at vinyl at one time. The later work is ‘softer’ & more diverse in sound. Although she has a rocker persona she was never a tough or as direct as Chrissie Hynde.

Another band that profited from Chapman & Chinn is The Sweet: Desolation Boulevard (1974) with hit song “Ballroom Blitz.” A dynamic collection of radio friendly pop perfect for the times. Chapman & Chinn are that era’s George Martin producing hits for many British groups. Like the later hit producer Trevor Horn you knew when you were hearing a Chapman & Chinn production.

Mamie Van Doren was a low-rent Jayne Mansfield (who in turn was a low rent Marilyn Monroe). She starred in many drive-in exploitation films. Here I  The Girl Who Invented Rock & Roll (1997): a great compilation of famous fun including the juicy ‘The Beat Generation.’ I also have the Dean Elliot soundtrack for College Confidential (1959) – one of Mamie’s movies that is a searing look at college life with songs 🙂

It only seemed right to include Pia Zadora’s I Am What I Am (1986). This lp was much better than I expected. Pia can actually sing & could have been a Lady Gaga with the right dance music producer & could also do a great duet lp with Tony Bennett. I suspect she was too comfortable to stretch beyond a tasteful choice of material Finally something on the ‘what the fuck’ side of pop, Ginger Baker’s Airforce 2 (1970) includes his take on  Cream’s Sweet Wine. I put it here because of the sweetly off-kilter female vocalist on all the cuts. Baker is a powerhouse drummer & used his fame from Cream to produce some intriguing lps of world music. Intriguing but the critics found them puzzling & not nearly as rock as Cream & thus were disappointed. But you know I rather enjoy the Airforce’s rather shambling production & horns. 

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