|Essra Mohawk — Primordial Lovers|
Essra Mohawk — Primordial Lovers
•Ι• Toto album získalo 5 hvězdiček v Downbeat (raves in Mix) a bylo vyhlášeno jako “jedno z nejlepších 25–ti alb všech dob” v magazínu Rolling Stone. Kvalitativně je to jedna z prvních žen na mé průzkumné cestě progresivním rockem a popem, ano: Essra is still leading the way! Respected session vocalist and solo artist, bridging jazz, blues, and folk. Legendary Singer and Songwriter Essra Mohawk's list of accomplishments is nearly endless. She has worked with world class artists such as Frank Zappa and Jerry Garcia, and has opened for greats such as Grateful Dead, Procol Harum, Jimi Hendrix and Cream. Her songs have been recorded by Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, Peabo Bryson and many others. Essra is available as a consultant, and to speak at functions and events as well as performing with her band, as a solo or with her acoustic trio, 1Circle. © Essra Mohawk, credit: Bad Doberan, D — Aug.19 2011
Born: April 23, 1948 in Philadelphia, PA
Member Of: The Mothers of Invention
Instruments: Vocals, Piano, Guitar, Mandolin
Location: Mendocino, California ~ Nashville, TN
Album release: 1970, 2000, 2014
Recorded: 1969 in L.A. & San Francisco
Record Label: Reprise/Collectors' Choice Music/Rhino Handmade
01 I Am the Breeze 3:12
02 Spiral 4:09
03 I'll Give It To You Anyway 3:21
04 I Have Been Here Before 6:42
05 Looking Forward To the Dawn 8:40
06 Thunder In the Morning 4:35
07 Lion In the Wing 6:44
08 It's Up To Me 2:21
09 It's Been a Beautiful Day 2:14
10 I Have Been Here Before [Piano/Vocal] 5:49
11 Someone Has Captured Me 4:02
12 Could You Lift Your Heart 3:42
13 Question 4:48
14 Drifter 3:21
• Al Aarons Trumpet
• Bruce Cale Bass
• Michael Cohen Arranger, Organ
• Michael Dubkin Flute
• Barry Feinstein Photography
• Warren Gale Trumpet
• Mel Graves Bass
• John Haeny Mixing
• Jerry Hahn Guitar
• Doug Hastings Guitar
• Ken Jenkins Bass
• Joe Keefe Finger Cymbals, Vibraphone
• Robert M. Macleod Mastering
• George Marsh Drums, Percussion
• John Meyers Flute
• Essra Mohawk Arranger, Composer, Piano, Primary Artist, Vocals
• Frazier Mohawk Producer
• Jerry Penrod Bass
• Peter Pilafian Violin
• Fritz Richmond Engineer
• Leonard Roberts Engineer
• Gale Robinson French Horn
• Brian Ross–Myring Engineer
• Phil Sawyer Engineer
• Kenny Shroyer Trombone
• George St John Oboe
• Dallas Taylor Drums
• Phillip Teele Trombone (Bass)
• Ed Thrasher Art Direction
• Lee Underwood Guitar
• Richie Unterberger Liner Notes
• Bert Wilson Sax (Tenor) © Essra Live at Zappanale (photo credit: Corneliu Cazacu)
Review by Charles Donovan; Score: ****½
• Primordial Lovers is assured of its status as an unsung classic. All who hear it, and there aren't enough, are bewitched by its esoteric poetry, unguarded passion, and great tunes. No longer buried in the dreadful production of her Sandy Hurvitz disc, Mohawk is a wondrous creature of contrasts: simultaneously urbane and nature–loving, knowing and naïve, all–powerful yet unabashedly vulnerable at the same time. Her voice is a remarkable instrument — not the shrill piccolo of Joni Mitchell, nor the darker, mesmerising recorder of Laura Nyro, but more a multi–range brass and woodwind hybrid yet to be invented. The songs on Primordial Lovers do not adhere rigidly to conventional ideas of song structure, which is not to say that they aren't catchy — far from it; they worm their way into the subconscious very quickly. But, in the manner of early Laura Nyro, many of the compositions undergo sudden changes in time signature and are subject to surprising chord progressions that catch the listener unaware. Whether identifying with the elements ("I Am the Breeze"), declaring love ("Lion on the Wing"), or cheering up a depressed friend ("Thunder in the Morning," written for Stephen Stills), Mohawk, armed only with a piano, a few players, and her own vast imagination, finds something worthwhile to say, and says it beautifully. "Thunder in the morning sky reminds me of you/I don't know the reason why but it just does/it just does" might mean nothing in the hands of another artist, but when Mohawk wails the lines with potent sincerity, it's impossible not to believe every word. "I Have Been Here Before," the album's centerpiece, is also its most astonishing moment — a swirling, narcotic, psychedelic jazz creation powered by a fuller horn section. The song's subject matter — reincarnation — is reflected by its own circular structure. Again, only Mohawk could bring conviction to lines like "Green trees/with orange middles/are passing by/the watching eye." Primordial Lovers deserves a place in the record collection of every free–thinking soul.
Artist Biography by Charles Donovan
• Singer/songwriter Essra Mohawk (b. Sandra Elayne Hurvitz, Philadelphia, PA) is a performing songwriter and recording artist whose career encompasses a who's who of popular music. In addition to releasing several critically acclaimed solo albums, she has collaborated with Al Jarreau, Bonnie Bramlett, Al Stewart, Narada Michael Walden, and Keb' Mo'; provided background vocals for John Mellencamp, Jerry Garcia, and Kool & the Gang; and written songs for Cyndi Lauper and Tina Turner. She released her first single, "The Boy with the Way" with B–side "Memory of Your Voice," on Liberty Records in 1964, under the name Jamie Carter. She later declined several offers of staff writerships, although the Shangri–Las and Vanilla Fudge began recording her material.
• In 1967, Mohawk met Frank Zappa, eventually joining the Mothers of Invention, where she reluctantly assumed the moniker Uncle Meat. Zappa signed her to his Bizarre label (a Verve subsidiary) and her first album, Sandy's Album Is Here at Last!, appeared soon after and remains the only album released under her birth name. It was during this period that a studio receptionist friend began calling her "Essie," a nickname that quickly morphed into "Essra." In 1969 she married Frazier Mohawk, the producer of her second album, who had worked on Nico's The Marble Index. Their working relationship spawned Primordial Lovers, hailed as one of the 25 best albums ever made by Rolling Stone magazine. It missed out on wider publicity and never charted, but gradually developed a strong following over the ensuing decades.
• Further interest in Mohawk's music was prompted in the mid–'70s by her appearance on Schoolhouse Rock, the popular educational and musical cartoon TV series. Her vocals were featured on "Interjections," "Sufferin' Till Suffrage," and "Mother Necessity." In 1974, Mohawk moved to the Elektra/Asylum label, where she released Essra Mohawk. The album should, by rights, have consolidated her position in the first league of singer/songwriters, but was insufficiently publicized and distributed, despite its positive reviews. Two years later, the same fate greeted her fourth album, Essra, which appeared on Private Stock. Despite such disappointments, Mohawk's reputation in musical circles was such that from 1980 to 1982 she performed as a background vocalist with the Jerry Garcia Band after narrowly missing out on joining Jefferson Starship following Grace Slick's departure in 1978.
• Further solo albums Burnin' Shinin' and E–Turn appeared without great fanfare, but in 1986 Mohawk enjoyed a huge hit as the songwriter of Cyndi Lauper's Billboard number three hit "Change of Heart," from Lauper's platinum–selling True Colors album. Later in that decade Tina Turner recorded "Stronger Than the Wind," again penned by Mohawk. After ABC Video released the Schoolhouse Rock cartoons on video in the '90s, the troupe, led by music director Bob Dorough, began performing live. In 1998, Rhino released a new album, Schoolhouse Rocks the Vote!, on which Essra sang, wrote, and produced "Do You Wanna Party," about political parties in the U.S.
• Having moved to Nashville, Mohawk recorded the albums Raindance and Essie Mae Hawk Meets the Killer Groove Band and then — starting in 2000 — her earlier material began appearing on CD. Primordial Lovers was reissued by Rhino Handmade in a luxury package including non–LP singles and the entire follow–up album that had originally appeared on Asylum. Within a few years, additional albums — including 1976's Essra — were released as Japanese mini–LP CDs, and E–Turn also appeared on CD. In a phase of prolific creativity, albums including You're Not Alone and Love Is Still the Answer, as well as a career roundup of rarities, Revelations of the Secret Diva, were released. Maintaining her presence in television, Essra also contributed songs to the soundtracks of CBS series Joan of Arcadia and All My Children. Mohawk remains an active live attraction and recording artist. :: http://www.allmusic.com/ © Schoolhouse Rock — Essra Mohawk — June 8, 1974 NY — Bob Gruen
An Interview with the One and Only Essra Mohawk
The Real Essra Mohawk
• Morning coffee, finishing up prayers, barking dogs, attending to guests unable to get in the house, and other daily morning occurrences; Woodstock Story had the privilege of catching up with musician Essra Mohawk in real life.
• Former Mothers of Invention member and successful solo artist Essra Mohawk is commonly regarded as leading the way in progressive rock and pop music. She is a woman who has never lost sight of what the 1960s meant to her as well as the world. • Essra Mohawk continues to embrace the spirit of the era offers true insight into what it meant to be a part of a time of living close to the environment and human nature. Woodstock Story got a chance to speak with the flowering musician who will headline the Woodstock 1969 tribute Woodfest '09 which will take place in Oklahoma on August 14th to 16th. (Essra plays on the 15th.)
• Society, ideals, and music have undergone a great deal of change since Woodstock 1969. Mohawk believes that the 1960s is not a testament to what was, but rather what will come to be.
• "The youth of today don't have the same environment around them to step into. I really believe that the 60s was a preview of the coming of a golden age. The upcoming years will bring either the dawn of our golden age or the end of civilization" said Mohawk.
• Aptly nicknamed 'The Secret Diva' Essra Mohawk has been a part of music since age 16. Having been a part of Frank Zappa's band, writing hits for various artists including Cyndi Lauper, her songs have been recorded by Tina Turner, Lorrie Morgan and the Shangri–Las, solidifying her place in music history and continuing to further the art. Passionate about what she does, consider her an independent artist who has been at it for decades.
• "As a musician, I can say that the pay has not gone up, but the cost of living has. I don't know how they expect us to live. My music is what it is through thick and thin; it comes from my core," said Mohawk.
• She was scheduled to play at the original Woodstock festival likely, according to her by being a part of Michael Lang's inner circle of friends. She got to witness the conception and eventual realization of the legendary festival.
• "It was Michael Lang's dream. He had help, but I know it was Michael who came up with the idea. I was privileged to witness him follow his dream and watch it manifest," said Mohawk.
• Unfortunately, she was unable to perform at Woodstock 1969 after the car she was in, which was following Lang's car to the festival lost it in traffic. Instead of following Lang as he turned off the road towards the heliport, Essra's manager missed the turn and drove all the way to the festival with the masses, barely arriving before the end of the last act on Friday evening, Joan Baez. That was the day Essra was scheduled to play but arrived too late.
• "Richie Havens and I traded karma, he was not scheduled to play and I was," said Mohawk.
• "Richie took the place of John Sebastian (of the Lovin'Spoonful) who was wandering through the festival mixing with the people. Does the world know what a great artist John Sebastian is? They would had he gotten to play that day."
• Essra will get her chance to capture the spirit of Woodstock 1969 at Woodfest '09 where she will headline. The peaceful and accommodating event is one of many Woodstock tributes that will bring back the 60s mentality and offer some peace in an otherwise hectic world.
• "I bring it full circle because I didn't get to play the original Woodstock. Music is the environment that pulls people together. They are isolated behind their computer screens without true social interaction. These festivals provide something that is a real human need." said Mohawk.
• These tributes and festivals are perhaps the type of events that will again turn the tide of music for the better. The hope is that many of these festivals will begin held in higher frequency after the summer of love is revisited. She sees hope in independent artists working without using the music industry as the middle man, but voices her insights about the state of current music.
• "When Madonna's "True Love" began climbing the charts and Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" began sliding down, it marked a shift in the music industry. People cared more about their looks and posturing than the music. MTV played a part in that as well; music is invisible, videos should enhance music instead of getting in the way, but this is all history. I believe the pendulum is swinging back towards substance and quality in music," said Mohawk.
• Listeners can expect a new album from 'The Secret Diva' in 2010 as she draws from a pool of 29 unrecorded tracks. Don't miss Essra Mohawk as she headlines Woodfest '09 and not only captures the sound of past music, but offers listeners a glimpse in what she hopes will be the dawn of our golden age.
• "The 1960s, for that brief time is not just history, it is a preview of the golden age," said Mohawk. :: http://www.woodstockstory.com/
Website: http://www.essramohawk.com/ /
LIVING LEGENDS MUSIC: http://www.livinglegendsmusic.com/library.php?personID=4356
• 1968 Sandy’s Album is Here at Last (as Sandy Hurvitz)
• 1970 Primordial Lovers
• 1974 Essra Mohawk
• 1976 Essra
• 1982 Burnin’ Shinnin’ (released unbeknownst to artist)
• 1985 E–Turn
• 1995 Raindance
• 1999 Essie Mae Hawk Meets the KillerGrooveBand
• 2003 You’re Not Alone
• 2006 Love is Still The Answer
• 2007 Revelations of the Secret Diva
|Essra Mohawk — Primordial Lovers|