The 60's and 70's saw the transition of the female's role in music from the passive voices present in early female folk and girl groups to her rightful place as a powerful driving voice on par with any male counterpart. This transition ushered in a whole host of female led rock outfits, some of which were sorely overshadowed. I give you two such fine examples.

Affinity - If You Live
Affinity were a short lived group who signed to Vertigo Records for one album in 1970. Combining the incredibly powerful voice of Linda Hoyle and the progressive jazz organ of Lydon Naiff, Affinity were able to fuse influences from
psychedelia, jazz and even a little folk without feeling too deserving of the prog rock moniker. Their eponymous debut is most well known for their searing rendition of "All Along the Watchtower," but I have long been intrigued by this collection, If You Live which gathers some unissued singles and rarities from the period. By no means as essential or influential as their album, it does however contains some great evidence of their power, along with some of the decade's more intense covers. Included among these is an inventive perspective on The Beatles' "I am the Walrus" and Stevie Wonder's "You've Met Your Match" along with some studio outtakes that display their jazz inflection and unique style.

[MP3] Affinity - I am the Walrus
[MP3] Affinity - You Met Your Match

The United States of America - The United States of America
The United States of America were a ground breaking band on many fronts. Not only did they showcase the strong female vocals of Dorothy Moskowitz but their success was also aided by the incredible
songwriting of group leader Joseph Byrd. Byrd had a gift for weaving psychedelia and jazz while utilizing the unique addition of violin and ring modulator, the latter making it an influential album for electronic composers to come. The tones are decidedly dark and a little pessimistic but then again what great 60's psych album wasn't. They did however undercut their darkness with a great sense of humor on songs like "I Won't Leave My Wooden Wife For You" and "The American Way of Love" This is truly one of the essential albums from this period. Utterly original to this day.

[MP3] The United States of America - Hard Coming Love
[MP3] The United States of America - The Garden of Earthly Delights

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posted by dissensous at 9:50:00 AM


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