Monday, 10 February 2014

Mama Lion - Preserve Wildlife

Nursing a Story Along

In the rock roll-call of gutsy female vocalists I’m not sure that Lynn Carey is mentioned as often as one would expect, certainly not anywhere near as often as Joplin – accepting JJ really does stand alone – though when mentioned Carey is compared with Joplin, but then any female rock vocalist with gravel churning in the voice gets this namecheck. Carey is quite likely best known for the risqué photo of her pretending to breast-feed a lion cub in order to take the literalness of then band name Mama Lion to gratuitous if highly successful heights on their 1972 release of Preserve Wildlife, the comic literalness linking photo and album title making this seem less PR wanton, though appearing as Penthouse’s Pet of the Month in December 1972 adds another complication to this unravelling storyline and marketing exploration.

I’ve always liked her singing with CK Strong and eponymous album of 1969, Ivar Avenue Reunion [with Neil Merryweather] and eponymous album of 1970, and even more literally Merryweather and Carey and their 1971 album Vacuum Cleaner - precursor sucking. On Preserve Wildlife there are two stonking covers – Ain’t No Sunshine and Ain’t Too Proud To Beg – and both ain’t half good, as are the other tracks with occasional great guitar psychedelia from Rick Gaxiola. 

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