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She - Outta Reach

She - Outta Reach

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Title:  Outta Reach
Company: Causeway
Catalog: no number
Year: 2009
Country/State: Sacramento, California
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: white label test pressing (numbered 2 out of 5)

I've always been fascinated by 1960s female rock bands. There certainly weren't many of them; even fewer getting to the point of recording material. That makes outfits like Ace of Cups, Birtha, Fanny, The Liverbirds, and these ladies quite special. Having the talent and the fortitude to actually record something in an industry to that was virtually 100% oriented to male performers stands as quite an achievement. These acts were truly pioneers opening the way for forthcoming generations. Okay, maybe that sounded a bit pompous ...

Formed in Sacramento, California in 1964 by teenaged sisters Nancy (vocals and guitar) and Sally (keyboards) Ross, they were originally known as The Id, then The Hairem, and attracted some buzz throughout Northern California with a combination of original garage rockers, and Rolling Stones-styled bad-girl image, and stunning good looks. Undergoing various personnel changes ave the Ross sisters, the group seemed to have played virtually any forum that would have them, including dances, clubs, military bases, and movie theaters. In the late 1960s they renamed themselves She, signing a contract with the blues-oriented Kent label, making their recording debut with a 1970 45:

- 'Little Boy Little' b/w 'Outta Reach' (Kent catalog number K 4525)

The 45 did nothing in terms of sales and Kent quickly cut ties to the band. The group continued working through 1971.

In 2009 the small Causeway label released "Outta Touch". Limited to 500 copies, the album pulled together ten tracks from the band's archives. Side one featured material from the later stage of their career with original tracks like 'Piece of You' and 'Roll On' showcasing a wonderful mix of Stones-styled swagger (check out the cover showing two female cats delivering a blow to a male dog in the private area) and commercial ness. Judging by the low tech sound quality and somewhat amateurish performances, I'd guess the five side two tracks were culled from their 1966 Hairem demos. Definitely raw and occasionally somewhat clumsy, though always enthusiastic, all hyperbole aside, judging by these ten tracks, these ladies were the real deal, delivery a set that of rockers that was stunningly aggressive, while it was also quite commercial. Anyone doubting women could rock as hard as men needs to check this set out.

- Kicked along by Sally Ross' Farfisa organ and Nancy Ross' snarling, snotty vocals, 'Outta Here' was the real thing ... hardcore female punk rock that effectively put wannabe groups like The Runaways to shame. Simply a killer track and hard to imagine it didn't make them superstars. The track was also interesting for the sound. Released as a 1970 single, this one sure sounded like something from the 1965-1966 timeframe.   rating ***** stars
- Musically 'Piece of You' offered up an intriguing mixture of surf guitars and garage attitude, while still managing to show the band's commercial sensibilities ... no this was never going to get them on top-40 radio, but it had a great rocking melody and there were some pretty harmony vocals.  rating **** stars
- Showcasing some gorgeous jangle rock guitar, a simplistic, but effective bass line, and Nancy's breathy vocals, 'Don't Go Home Tonight' was another fantastic track that was radio-ready and should've given Roger McGuinn and company a run for their money.  rating ***** stars
- One of my favorite performances, 'Roll On' started out as a snarling slice of garage until the wonderful chorus turned it into a far more commercial venture. Great organ from Nancy. rating ***** stars
- Side one's most blatantly commercial performance, the ballad-tempo 'Feel Like Giving Up' sported a surprisingly interesting 'kiss-off loser lyric' - not a lot of broken teenage heart songs out there that were penned from the female side. rating ***** stars
- As mentioned above, judging by the low tech production and extremely raw sound, I'm guessing 'Like a Snake' and the other four songs on side two were salvaged from the band's initial sessions as the Hairems. The performance on this one was certainly amateurish, but in spite of those limitations the song's snarling, angry edge was worth hearing. rating **** stars- With a weird, distant sound that made you wonder whether it had been recorded in a subway station, the breezy 'Come On Along' sounded like another 1966 demo, though this one had little of the snotty vibe that characterized their other work. Imagine what The Shaggs might have sounded like had the actually had some musical talent and you'll get a feel for this one. Nancy's little girl voice and lead guitarist Piper's (?) simplistic guitar solo was hysterical. rating: *** stars
- With a hypnotic one-two-three-four bass rhythm, 'Hey You' was probably the best of the five 1966 demos. Nice melody and the track generate quite a bit of energy once it got going. Nancy's innocent little girl voice remained amusing. rating: *** stars
- Complete with harmonica, the bluesy 'Not for Me' sported a surprisingly aggressive self empowerment and proto-feminist lyric. It wasn't the album's most commercial track, but was certainly the most intriguing performance. Don't think I would not have wanted to piss these ladies off ... rating: ***** stars
- No 'Bus Stop' was not a cover of the Hollies hi, rather another snarling garage original. This one really sounded like a raw demo, but with better production values and a little more instrumental prowess under their belts (particularly in the percussion area) this one would have been one of their standout performances. rating: ** stars

Interestingly, five promo copies of the album were pressed with hand glued color covers (this is number two of the five.). The f500 stock copies had black and white covers. 

"Outta Touch" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Outta Reach (Nancy Ross - Sally Ross) -
2.) Piece of You (Nancy Ross - Sally Ross) -
3.) Don't Go Home Tonight (Nancy Ross - Sally Ross) -
4.) Roll On (Nancy Ross - Sally Ross) -
5.) Feel Like Giving Up (Nancy Ross - Sally Ross) -

(side 2)
1.) Like a Snake (Nancy Ross - Sally Ross) -
2.) Come On Along (Nancy Ross - Sally Ross) -
3.) Hey You (Nancy Ross - Sally Ross) -
4.) Not for Me (Nancy Ross - Sally Ross) -
5.) Bus Stop (Nancy Ross - Sally Ross) -
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