Sampler Daze: Let’s Hear It For The Women!

Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt

It occurred to me, while compiling this exhaustive survey of the Warner Bros./Reprise Loss Leaders series, that we might be giving short shrift to the label’s female artists.  Probably not, but this is a good excuse to listen to some more tracks from this great promotional series.

I know we’ve mentioned Bonnie Raitt and Maria Muldaur – but we should start with them anyway because they’re the two ladies that the Loss Leaders went to the most often.  Part of our Loss Leaders All-Star team, Muldaur appeared nine times in the series and Raitt eight.  Another Reprise artist (with six appearances in the series) is Joni Mitchell, the Canadian darling of the hippie set and writer of the song “Woodstock,” most famously covered by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Emmylou Harris, with five appearances in the Loss Leaders series, is another perennial.  Harris was actually discovered by then-Flying Burrito Brother (and ex-Byrd) Chris Hillman, who was so taken with her voice that he considered asking Harris to join the Burritos.  But he recommended her instead to fellow Burrito Gram Parsons, who was seeking a backing vocalist for his first solo album.  Working with Parsons, Emmylou learned a lot about country music and its deep tradition and history.  When Parsons suddenly died in 1973, Emmylou was left without a mentor (and possibly a lover – nobody knows for sure).  She began recording for Reprise in 1975 and went on to become a top country-rock performer.  Here she is represented by “Ooh Las Vegas,” written by Gram Parsons.

Warners in the 1970s got a lot of mileage out of some of its girls, and no one was bigger than Stevie Nicks.  When Nicks and her then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham joined the floundering blues band Fleetwood Mac (which already included Christine McVie) in 1975, the label wasn’t quite sure what it had on its hands.   In fact, a full-page ad in Rolling Stone picturing the new lineup actually switched the names under Nicks’ and Buckingham’s photos – but everyone figured it out when Fleetwood Mac hit No. 1 and spawned three Top 20 singles in 1976.   The followup, 1977’s Rumours, was one of the best-selling rock albums of all time but oddly enough, Fleetwood Mac hit No. 1 on the Billboard pop singles charts only once – with Stevie’s “Dreams.”

The rest of our all-girl lineup includes Fanny, the all-girl rock group, Mavis Staples waaaay out of her element on a disco song, Bonnie Bramlett from her first solo album on the Capricorn label, folksinger Miriam Makeba, punk rockers Pearl Harbor (yeah, that’s a girl) and the Explosions, and the GTOs.  The GTOs (for Girls Together Often) were some groupies that Frank Zappa gathered into the studio and produced a record for in the late 1960s – God knows why.

And we’ve included here a small bonus: Peter, Paul and the late Mary Travers performing a children’s song, “Going To The Zoo,” from 1969.  It’s preceded by Joni Mitchell telling one of her favorite stories from a live concert in Carnegie Hall.

MP3: “Runaway” by Bonnie Raitt (from Limo, 1977)

MP3: “Chelsea Morning” by Joni Mitchell (from Schlagers!, 1970)

MP3: “Don’t You Feel My Leg (Don’t You Make Me High)” by Maria Muldaur (from All Singing, All Talking, All Dancing, 1973)

MP3: “Tonight I Feel Like Dancing” by Mavis Staples (from A La Carte, 1979)

MP3: “You Got It (Release It)” by Pearl Harbor & the Explosions (from Troublemakers, 1980)

MP3: “Borrowed Time” by Fanny (from Burbank, 1972)

MP3: “You Send Me” by Bonnie Bramlett (from The People’s Record, 1976)

MP3: “The Original GTOs” by the GTOs (from The Big Ball, 1970) Editor’s note: Yes, they are apparently … kissing.

MP3: “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac (from Limo, 1977)

MP3: “Ooh Las Vegas” by Emmylou Harris (from Supergroup, 1976)

MP3: “For What It’s Worth” by Miriam Makeba (from Schlagers!, 1970)

MP3: “Spoony’s Wonderful Adventure” by Joni Mitchell/”Going To The Zoo” by Peter, Paul & Mary (from The 1969 Warner-Reprise Record Show, 1969)

Inside the WB/Reprise Loss Leaders at Dustbury.com

30 Days Out’s series on the WB/Reprise Loss Leaders

One Response to “Sampler Daze: Let’s Hear It For The Women!”

  1. This is such a great series appreciate the work that has gone into it

    regards

    Rhod

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