Friday, May 4, 2012

40 Year Itch : Feminist Boogie

Joy of Cooking is overdue for that kind of  reappraisal that plucks great artists from the past and makes them the new big thing. And not just because two women led this band of confident purveyors of in-the-groove-boogie or that some of the lyrics offered feminist takes on love lost and gained. Joy of Cooking simply rocked.

In a 1971 article entitled "Female Rock" Time Magazine wrote:

  "The one outfit so far that can compete with top-level male band quality is Joy of Cooking, and it is only partly female. The group is owned and led by two 32-year-old women. Terry Garthwaite, a tough rock singer, plays electric guitar and sings with a scratchy authority that can suggest Janis Joplin. Her partner, Toni Brown, a pretty Bennington graduate, sings, stomps around the stage, plays electric piano and organ, and writes songs about what it is like to be a woman ("Time goes, and the baby keeps growin', and I can't help knowin', baby I love you"). The girls —backed by three males, Fritz Kasten, 27, drums, Ron Wilson, 37, congas, and Jeff Neighbor, 28, bass—produce a reasonably rich mixture of blues, wailing gospel and riffs of pure country, folk and hard rock, all curiously overlaid with Latin conga rhythms."

Formed in Berkeley during the hippie era, Joy Of Cooking had to wait four years before recording their major label debut. They spent a lot of that time playing house parties, finding the grooves of their songs and making them last for the people enjoying the show. We only got three initial Joy Of Cooking albums. Castles , released in May of 1972, was the last. It earned an A- from critic Robert Christgau  who wrote "the music has grown crisper and fuller while continuing to flow as swimmingly as you'd hope."

 Toni and Terry each had kids in the 70's. Both moved on. Toni is a full time artist. Terry has been exploring the healing power of music. In 2006, the two put together a Joy of Cooking compliation made of unreleased tunes and a live concert.

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