Image © 2000
(20 February 2000) The electrifying five-piece Vagabond Lovers
Naked Barbies for ten years previously) are fronted by
Patty Speglanin who formed the band in 1990 because she
loved music and wanted desperately to be in a real band.
In 1996, they won the Whammie Award as the Bay Area's best
Americana band. In 1998, the band was a finalist in the
Levi's/Lilith Fair Emerging Talent Concert. Three albums
were released by the band under their former monniker before
Mattel insisted on a name change. You can still order their
Dancing With Vacuums (1995)
and Living Independently (1998)
The forthcoming album by Vagabond Lovers scheduled for release on
May 16, 2000 is entitled
When I Was You (Monarch Records(USA) MONA-1023, 2000).
The new album is comprised of twelve richly arranged alternative vocal numbers,
including a stunning cover of The Cars' "Drive" albeit arranged more lightly
to better suit Patty's voice. It is a stunning track and an album highlight.
She says, "we often pick covers that were
originally sung by men because when a woman sings it, there's a different
perspective, a different connotation." Patty has a tremendous voice with a
richness, range, power and style certain to warm the hearts of most
female vocal enthusiasts.
The album opens with "Junkie," a smooth tune written by song-writing friend
Sarah Decker. "I think of myself as somewhere between Joni Mitchell and
Linda Ronstadt," Patty reveals, "in the sense that I'm a songwriter but I
also have a great appreciation for great songs. "Midnight Radio" is one
of those great tracks, with a well-balanced guitar instrumental arrangement
matched to the easy going light rock tune. "For Sale Sign" is vocally
stronger and instrumentally lighter and the underlying musical theme is
a cross between a ballad and a country tune. The pace picks up and the
texture changes to be more jazzy in "Wonderful Thing." Here Patty's
vocals are right out in front, well on top of the guitars, and the extent
of her range becomes evident. The guitar solo that concludes the track
Not only did they happen upon the idea of "Drive" while hanging out with
Austin producer Dave McNair in an Oakland bar but they were able to include
a Siglanin favourite, "Him," written by former Green on Red member Chuck
Prophet, who she encountered after one of his gigs. This is a bluesy ballad
with vocals soaring way above the light instrumentation—easy to understand
why it's one of Patty's faves. "Living Independently" and "A Thousand
Different Reasons" are brighter songs, with heartfelt lead and harmony
vocals; a mix of acoustic and electric guitar backing produces an almost
country sounding tune.
A unique instrumental arrangement compliments the ballad "I Got Killed"
which was reminscent of several of the themes from Evita. Jazz
influences (principally on piano) are joined with rock in "Kitchen."
The vocal excursions within the track are tremendous. The
album concludes with "Division Street" a soft ballad with country
influences, heartfelt lyrics, and light instrumentals and "You Make
It Easy," a bluesy, vocally rich ballad.
The forthcoming release by Vagabond Lovers contains a wide variety of
songs that illustrate the range of the band's talent and Patty Spiglanin's
vocal abilities. For soundbites and further information also check out
Certain to interest female vocal enthusiasts, the album
is worth watching for in the coming months—a very nice listen!