Picks and Pans Review: Letterock
Enter four new competitors in the fern rock sweepstakes. The list of artists Marcy Levy has worked with reads like the lineup for a music awards show: Bob Seger, Eric Clapton, Stanley Clarke, Leo Sayer, Aretha Franklin, Leon Russell. Now Marcy, 30, has the microphone all to herself and acquits herself so well one wonders what she was doing singing "ooo-aaah" all these years. With Linda Ronstadt/ Quarterflash producer John Boylan at the studio helm, native Detroiter Marcy offers up 10 songs—nine of which she co-wrote. While there is nothing astonishingly original about her brash brand of rock, tunes like I Can't Stand It and Life Is on the Line prove she's got the stuff to go it alone. Another well-connected woman to emerge in the rock ranks is Tané (pronounced "Tawny") Cain, 24, former photographer's model and wife of Journey's keyboardist Jonathan Cain. She has a striking look, but the best she can muster musically is a C-plus imitation of Pat Benatar, even down to the break in her soprano. Hiring Benatar's record producer, Keith Olsen, to work on the album just exacerbates the invidious comparison. Lisa Bade, yet another newcomer, has friends, too. Many of them are veteran stagemates of Ronstadt (i.e., guitarist Waddy Wachtel and drummer Rick Marotta). Now 25, Australian Bade is a student of the Janis Joplin school of singing. But her vocal rasp is more rocky and bluesy—and often without much emotional wallop. There's one more decibel deb named Lisa: Lisa Hartman, 26, will soon join the CBS TV series Knots Landing as rock singer Ciji Dunne. She has chosen, perhaps predictably, to appear on the jacket of her album wearing a skimpy lace nightie. The 10 tunes inside—most of which "Ciji" will sing—are a little like the nightie: They barely cover enough to make her seem decent. Hartman's run-of-the-mill voice is helped little by lackluster songs and lame instrumental arrangements. If only she sounded like she looks.