Picks and Pans Review: Mama, I Wanna Make Rhythm

updated 09/02/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/02/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Chenille Sisters

In the name of truth in labeling, these three women—Cheryl Dawdy, Connie Huber and Grace Morand—should consider changing the name of their group. First off, they're not sisters. More significantly, their sound—reminiscent of the Andrews, Boswell and McGarrigle sisters—is sublime enough to demand a more upscale fabric than Chenille.

They move deftly—with meticulous harmonies—from parody to pastiche to country to folk. An uproarious "translation" of "La Bamba," "Listen to Your Mama," urges: "Listen to your mama/ She says be neat-a/ Protect toilet seat-a/ In strange bathrooms."

It is followed by a hauntingly sung version of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" and Huber's "Road-maps," a lament for a lover who's uncomfortable with comfort.

Not all the selections work. "Is It True, Albert?" an a cappella song of distress aimed at Einstein, and "I Am a Can of Tuna" are lyrically dull.

Better to concentrate on "The Wind," with guitarist Pat Donohue's Ry Cooderesque accompaniment.

Or consider the sassy title track. Let's discuss the possibility of listening to such a number without a broad grin and a tapping foot or two. It is flatly impossible. (Red House)

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