Thursday, June 21, 2007

Shangri-La Revisited.

For me, Mary Weiss is the true voice of real-live, honest-to-god street level chick rock. Forty years ago she more or less fronted the The Shangri-Las, the girl-group who scored a number one hit with "Leader Of The Pack", a song so entangled in camp and so tattooed on our collective American consciousness that many of us can't remember if it began life as a Coke commercial, a showtune, a Bette Midler bathhouse anthem or what the fuck. If it was written as a jokey mini-opera, Mary Weiss didn't get the memo. She's the real deal from Queens. She hasn't recorded in something like forty years (although rumor has it that she sang back-up for Aerosmith in the 70's) but her new cd 'Dangerous Game' picks up right where The Shangri-La's left off. The intervening years haven't done much damage...but then again she always had one of those preternatural old-soul voices anyway. Her phrasing is truly uncanny: Queensborough streetcorner blue-eyed bad-babysitter soul. No one can touch the way she pines like a girl who could either cut you or fuck you, she hasn't decided yet. 'Dangerous Game''s production feels neither gimmicky nor condescending. Her back-up band, Reigning Sound, is a raw-boned garage band who sound like The Ramones if The Ramones knew how to play instruments and could afford a Farfisa organ.

'Dangerous Game' is party music for pie-eyed grownups who know their way around a jukebox. Check her out:

No comments: