Feb 8, 2009
FEMININE COMPLEX - LIVIN' LOVE (ATHENA 1969) Japan/Korea mastering cardboard sleeve + 14 bonus
This Nashville band featuring Mindy Dalton, Judi Griffith, Lana Napier, Pame Stephens, and Jean Williams has long been an enigma. There was even a rumour that they were a fictional band, and the material had been recorded quite recently by various American indie luminaries! This despite the original 1969 Athena Records album undoubtedly existing, and fetching astronomical figures
In fact, The Feminine Complex were an all-girl garage band, a rarity in Nashville, to be sure. They were even heavily featured on various TV shows including the nationally syndicated "Showcase '68" and the local "Nashville Now". The Feminine Complex made one of the few genuine "girls in the garage" albums (all original songs too!) in a time when the 45 was king (queen?), and an extraordinary album it is too, as extraordinary indeed as the story of the band...[net]
Livin' Love is a breathtaking album of raw passion and energy. Astonishingly, it contains all original Feminine Complex songs, penned mostly by Mindy Dalton. Recorded in 1968, there is a strong sense of mind-altering musing displayed throughout Dalton's prose, which she denied carried with it any drug connotations. Even though the record is a polished outing, due mainly to the experienced backing-band brought in, there is no question that Dalton's songs demonstrated a considerable emerging talent, deserving of an "A-list" ranking in the league table of late-sixties' female rock stars. Sadly, Livin' Love came and went unnoticed; the original all-girl roster of the Feminine Complex disbanded amicably, and that was that.
The album's opening three numbers are delicately alluring, with a brooding seductiveness that betrays Livin' Love's punch on later numbers. Now I Need You is a swirling cry of desperation, whilst the refraining Are You Lonesome Like Me? possesses a startling songwriting maturity from Dalton; the song could feature on any of Dusty Springfield's better albums and you'd believe it were penned by Lieber & Stoller.
I Won't Run powers up the tempo scales with dashing freneticism and powerful rhythm chords. Exemplary throughout the album are the backing vocals - drenched in reverb, which add a very welcome leftfield edge. Run That Through Your Mind, I Don't Want Another Man and the powerhouse I've Been Working On You signal the very best late-sixties Aretha, suggesting the band’s versatility. It's Magic has a psychedelic ambiance that is ripped apart by a delicious chorus, complete with off-kilter vocal backing...