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The Roches


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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As in Maggie, Terre and Suzzy. Their debut album remains a real adventure how warped can these sisters get and still be folk singers? Produced by Robert Fripp.

Amazon.com

With a series of '80s albums for Warner Brothers, Maggie, Terri, and Suzzy Roche invented a tart fusion of barber shop, doowop, and vaguely Celtic singing styles. Their voices could rise and dart around each other with the instinct only sisters possess, and their original material is by turn strangely funny and darkly evasive. Produced by the surprising choice of experimental guitarist Robert Fripp, the debut is their freshest recording, and a good avenue for new listeners to enter their captivating vocal world. --Roy Francis Kasten

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. We 2:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Hammond Song 5:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Mr. Sellack 4:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Damned Old Dog 4:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. The Troubles 3:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. The Train 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. The Married Men 4:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Runs In The Family 3:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Quitting Time 4:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Pretty And High 4:05$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000002KK4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,979 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

A beautiful achievement from a great, under appreciated group.
Steven Pugliese
I recently purchased the CD when the tape I've listened to for years went kapoot and I'm so happy I did!
Katie Mayo
If you listen carefully, you will notice that they don't do anything in a song the same way twice.
Christopher Bonds

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By ILikeAmazon on August 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The Roches eponymous 1979 release is a unique blending of folk, punkishness, and guitar balladry. It features lovely harmonizing by the three Roche sisters backed by spare, uncluttered, but poetic instrumentation. It almost defies categorization and often ends up listed as "Alternative" music, given its playful but quirky guitar Fripp-isms (from producer Robert Fripp of King Crimson and Brian Eno collaborator fame). However, this doesn't sound like a Fripp album. Maybe this is best described as folk with a hard(er) edge.
First, the production quality continues to amaze. The recording engineers had their act together and every vocal nuance and instrument overtone is perfectly captured. The recording is totally realistic and there's not one drum maching hiding anywhere (thank goodness). The Roches would be a good candidate for an audiophile remastered release (anyone out there listening?). Summed up, the record abounds with aural pleasures.
Second, The Roches sound terrific together. Their harmonies blend completely and, at the same time, their interplay individually creates and releases emotional tension. They're actors in many songs, each playing special roles. A listen to the song "We" makes clear the personalities involved as each Roche sister does their obligatory introduction. The vocals never sound forced or unnatural or stagey.
Third, this is an outstanding collection of well written, diverse, and completely intelligent songsmithing. Every gem (and there are only gems here) illuminates some curious foible of the human condition. Everyone has their favorites. With each listen, you get more and more out of the songs. That's the hallmark of great writing.
In Summary: This is, hands-down, a 5-star collection of songs.
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Bonds VINE VOICE on July 20, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The Roches never did anything finer than their first recording. It's pointless to say "if you like this kind of music, get it"--because there isn't really anything to compare it with. Sure, it's kind of folk, has some attitude, it's acoustic, etc. etc. but the musical content and lyrics cannot be pigeonholed. These songs are real compositions and are definitely not written according to any formula common to popular music. How three sisters so young could be so original is beyond me, but I'm happy because of it. If you listen carefully, you will notice that they don't do anything in a song the same way twice. The music is always developing, changing. That is one of the signs of great writing. The lyrics speak of commonplace things (relationships, jobs) in new, original ways. In "Hammond Song," we don't know exactly to whom they are talking nor do we know exactly where Hammond is. But it makes no difference. We can fill in the blanks, and to listen to what they do with the musical arrangement is spellbinding.
If you are just learning about the Roches this is the place to start. This and their other early albums are the place to start. Unfortunately some of their later efforts are weaker, in my opinion. They seemed to lose that touch of attitude and sass that made me call them "subversive" artists in their early recordings. They hook you in with their sweet sounds and then stick the knife in when you are off guard. There is definitely a touch of irony to their early work. Listen and learn!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jim Lent on April 14, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Back in 1979 I saw the Roches for the first time on Saturday Night Live where they sang their a capella version of the Hallelujah Chorus. I was hooked. I went out and purchased this the next day and it didn't come off my turntable (LPs only in those days) for the next two weeks. This was such a refreshing sound - gorgeous three part harmonies given a mischievous and sometimes deep edge by the Roches' own quirks and Robert Fripp's spare but telling production. Though Maggie was always the major songwriter of the group, they all have their own songwriting styles which adds to the complexities of each album. With the exception of the unfortunate and virtually Maggie-less Another World and an equally undistinguished follow-up EP, all their records - and all the concerts of theirs I've been to - have been wonders. If this record remains my favorite it's because you can only be taken by surprise once.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Anon on September 27, 2004
Format: Audio CD
You have to understand, this album was released in 1979 in the teeth of the punk rock/new wave revolution. The Roche sisters played folk music on the streets of New York but somehow enlisted the help of Robert Fripp, who was a legendary musician and the heart and soul of college favorites King Crimson. This perverse combination produced a a subversive album for a subversive time. Subversive because it didn't sound like anything that had come before (or since, for that matter). But it was also beautiful, funny, and poignant. When Maggie and Suzzy sing to Terre in Hammond Song, "Where is on down the line, how far away?" your heart will ache.

It was 1979. For those of us looking for a way out of the mainstream that led to the punk rebellion, but also wanted an alternative to the angry young men of New York and London, this was an epiphany. In their own way, the Roches were the soft side of punks -- inventing their own style of music and pouring their hearts out with every song. But what beautiful punk music this was.

Alas, this was their last great moment (Maggie and Terre recorded a splendid album a few years prior to this one.) Savor it for what it truly is, one of the finest recordings of the 1970s or any other decade. One that surely made "deepest New Jersey" proud.
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