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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Wendy and Lisa

Wendy and Lisa (Expanded Edition)

Review by Gary Hill

This is a newly remastered and expanded edition of the debut disc by Wendy and Lisa. They were best known for their involvement with Prince, but this album showed them to be artists in their own right. It also got them a hit with the song “Waterfall.” There is a lot of great music here. Some of it seems a little dated in the modern era, but only a little. And other stuff here seems timeless. This is still a strong album all those years later.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Honeymoon Express

There is a lot of funk on this tune and the bass is pretty awesome. The arrangement is lush, and while it feels a little dated today, it still holds up quite well. The vocal arrangement is also noteworthy.

Sideshow

Now, this is more purely pop oriented in some ways. It definitely feels like something Prince might do. It’s got a lot of energy and the rhythm section drives it to a large degree. The arrangement isn’t as lush as that of the previous piece.

Waterfall

Here is the big hit from Wendy and Lisa. I like the rubbery rhythm section and the vocal arrangement is the biggest winner on this tune. It’s a strong cut that really holds up well, even today. There is a particularly tasty guitar solo on the song. For the most part, though, the vocals and rhythm section are the driving factor on this number.

Stay

We get almost a sultry jazz sound to this number. It’s slow moving and quite cool. While this is rather understated, it’s quite pretty and actually one of the highlights of the set.

White

This instrumental is one part funky jazz and one part space rock. It’s quite a cool cut that works through some intriguing shifts and changes. It’s definitely a timeless piece of music.

Blues Away

Rocking out a bit harder, this is a cool funk rock piece. The vocal arrangement really drives it more than anything else does. This gets quite involved and powerful later.

Song About

Jazzy elements meets pop music things on the arrangement for this catchy number. There are some great jazz moments instrumentally here and the vocals are top notch.

Chance to Grow

Definitely funky and rhythmic, that jazz motif is still present here. This one feels a bit dated, though. The rhythm section is the main key to this piece (other than the vocals). It’s a good track, but probably not at the same level as some of the rest of the music here.

The Life

Gentle and intricate, this is a powerful balladic cut. The vocals feel very vulnerable and this is a nice touch, really.

Everything But You

There is a lot of funk on this piece. It’s a pop rock number that works well. Still, there are some pretty intense moments that come close to fusion.

Light

Coming straight out of the previous number, there are some great retro funk and jazz sounds here.

Honeymoon Express (12" Version)
The first of four bonus tracks on this edition, the funk seems even more prominent here. This is much more “dance” oriented. It’s not really as good in this arrangement to my ears, but for those who like this kind of thing, it’s probably great. Of course, it’s actually not bad, either. I just prefer the original take.
Sideshow (Extended Version)

Another bonus track, this is OK, but it definitely goes on a little too long. It feels more stripped back here and just doesn’t hold up as well as the main version of the tune does.

Waterfall '89 (Alice & Sundial Seven)

This mix really rocks. I like it a lot. In fact, perhaps I like it even more than the main version.

Waterfall (Psychedelic Teepee Twelve)

While this dance mix style isn’t as good as the previous version (or the original), the guitar solo section is cool and the killer bass groove works well. The extended remix section at the end is particularly annoying.

 

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