Saturday, April 10, 2021

Rocher des Âges

It's time for a Saturday night special I've been at for a few days, one of those where I have to ask the person it's about if it's ok first. And it was!

She is 68 today, one of three magical sisters that formed one of the most beloved trios of our lifetimes.

One of them passed in 2017, effectively ending their run, which began when two of them dropped out of high school to tour back in the 1960s, when dropping out was the most in you could get.

They eventually ended up in the orbit of Paul Simon, who signed them to his production company after having them as backing singers on his 1973 tour.

They made a record in 1975, but the stresses of the music biz sent them south to Louisiana for a breather.

It was when the two of them returned to New York City -- you know your breather's over when you move there -- and their younger sister joined the group that things really started to exponentialize.

Their Christmas caroling adventures in downtown NYC led them to start to work up versions of existing songs, as well as their own soon-to-be classics, and it wasn't long until multiplying gigs got them noticed enough for the record business suits to start attending.

A deal with Warner Brothers followed, with their first LP hitting turntables in 1979.

This still-perfect album -- any Best Records of the 1970s list that doesn't have it somewhere is plainly depraved disinformation -- was produced by Robert Fripp, as was their third in 1981.

I think that's where I first heard of The Roches, from people that were into King Crimson.

Then at the start of college I became best friends with RF's 1979 solo record Exposure, upon which today's birthday lady lays perhaps that LP's finest vocal performances onto the waxen grooves.

Which is seriously saying something, as that albums other singers are Daryl Hall, Peter Hammill and Peter Gabriel.

One time I got to hang with/interview the three of them for the radio program of which I was then a part.
Truly a day which I will never forget, and coincidentally one that took place during the time of today's share, intended as it is to honor the birthday of Terre Roche, born this day in 1953!

The Roches
Theater of Living Arts
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

01 intro
02 Speak
03 Big Nuthin'
04 Cloud Dancing
05 One Season
06 The Anti-Sex Backlash of the '80s
07 I Love My Mom 
08 banter I
09 Merciful God
10 Quitting Time
11 banter II
12 Face Down At Folk City
13 Losing Our Job
14 Don
15 In the World
16 The Troubles
17 Nocturne
18 The Angry Angry Man
19 Everyone Is Good
20 The Hallelujah Chorus
21 band introductions
22 Love Radiates Around
23 Hammond Song
24 The Married Men
25 Clothesline Saga
26 Losing True
27 Garrison Keillor interview
28 On the Road to Fairfax County
29 Suzzy introduces The Train
30 The Train

Total time: 2:04:46
disc break goes after Track 14

Maggie Roche - guitar, keyboards & vocals
Terre Roche - guitar & vocals
Suzzy Roche - guitar, keyboards & vocals

Tracks 01-26 are from Theatre of Living Arts and are sourced from what sounds like a soundboard DAT or very low gen cassette;
remastered -- with the first few seconds of The Troubles reconstructed -- by EN, April 2021
Tracks 27-30 are bonus tracks sourced from an aircheck master cassette of Garrison Keillor's American Radio Company
broadcast on KQED-FM in San Francisco, CA and recorded at Lamb's Theatre in New York City on 10.27.1990
716 MB FLAC/April 2021 archive link

I worked on this a bunch over the last 72 hours, to take the somewhat dull and hissy tape of a tremendous show and make it a little brighter and less distant sounding.

I think it sounds way better than it did before, plus I took the time to reconstruct the first few seconds of The Troubles, which were missing.

Anyway I'll be back around next week with more decibels for your dormitory, but I would be in trouble if I didn't wish Terre Roche -- manifestly one of the greatest singers of our lifetimes -- the very best of birthdays.... and many more!--J.

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