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Ava Cherry Takes A Ride On A “Streetcar Named Desire”

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Ava Cherry - Streetcar Named Desire“Black people don’t do new wave.  She’s supposed to be doing soul,” Ava Cherry recollected of radio’s reaction to her 1982 Capitol Records single “Love to Be Touched.”  Yet not only did Cherry – the former model, stalwart background vocalist and onetime muse to David Bowie –  do new wave, but she did it with fervor and flair.  With production from Bob Esty (Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” Barbra Streisand’s “The Main Event”), Cherry’s sophomore solo album Streetcar Named Desire, produced by Bob Esty (Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” Barbra Streisand’s “The Main Event”), has just come to CD in a new, deluxe edition from Gold Legion.  It adds one outtake, two bonus remixes and a new essay chockablock with tasty morsels, such as the one above, from the album’s key participants.  Streetcar failed to set the charts on fire all those years ago, but time has finally caught up with Ava Cherry’s genre-bending pop.

That this was no ordinary album was clear from the first notes of an overture-style composition by Mark Isham, “Having Been Near.”  It pointed the way towards his eventual film scores and set the stage for Cherry’s entrance on the album’s title track.  (Isham plays a major role on Streetcar and also closes it with the instrumental bookend “Having Been Far.”)  The entire LP features the music of synth-pop foursome Zoo Drive – Paul Delph (keyboards), John Goodsall (guitar), Doug Lunn (bass) and Ric Parnell (drums).  Esty applied an organic process to both songwriting and recording between himself, Cherry and Zoo Drive, lending Streetcar a feel that sets it apart from many of the era’s more sterile productions.  Despite the prevalent, of-their-time electronic textures, this is a “band” album.  Most of the album’s lyrics were written by Cherry and Esty, with various permutations of the Zoo Drive line-up contributing to the music and/or lyrics of more than half of the album’s tracks.  New wave gloss melds with greasy funk, pure pop, harsh rock, and jazz in the singular arrangements overseen by Esty.   (Cherry is “a post-punk rocker,” opines the critic of the New York Recorder as reprinted here.)  The album’s myriad influences might have worked against its initial chances for success, but in retrospect, they now distinguish it.

Read more after the jump!  Plus: the full track listing and order links! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 16, 2013 at 16:13

Posted in Ava Cherry, News, Reissues, Reviews

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