The Roches

14 Jun


From 1979 on the Warner Brothers label comes the debut album of the three Roche sisters from New York produced, inconguously, by Robert Fripp of King Crimson! I first heard this in Birmingham in 1980/81 via a friend, John Littlefair, (if you’re out there, get in touch!), who was also responsible for introducing me to Bonnie Raitt!

I’ll let The Roches introduce themselves, from the opening track, ‘We’:

We are Maggie and Terre and Suzzy

Maggie and Terre and Suzzy Roche

We don’t give out our ages

And we don’t give out our phone numbers (give out our phone numbers)

Sometimes our voices give out

But not our ages and our phone numbers

We come from deepest New Jersey

But now we live in New York City

We better get outa there before the shit hits the fan (shit hits the fan)

You might say where have they played?

All over the country and in England.

One hearing and I was a fan! Great, beautiful harmonies, stripped-down instrumentation and  wonderfully eccentric lyrics (the way they sing the lines “I hope they have health food in Dublin, and strawberry apricot pie/If they don’t have those things in Dublin/We’ll probably die” from ‘The Troubles’ makes me smile every time I hear it.

There are just ten tracks on this outing, the majority by Maggie, either alone or co-written with the other two sisters, and it remains my favourite Roches album. (They made one, maybe two more albums for Warner Bros. after which they moved onto smaller labels which enjoyed only erratic distribution in the UK – so my collection is a bit patchy). I’ve never seen them live – but this is a wonderful debut. Do check them out!


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