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Lotti Golden - Motor-Cycle (1969)





Lotti Golden was born in Manhattan to Sy (Seymour) Golden and Anita Golden (née Cohn), the elder of two daughters. Golden's parents, a strikingly handsome and fashionable pair, were avid jazz aficionados and foreign film buffs. Golden soaked up the sounds of Billie Holiday and John Coltrane from any early age developing a lifelong passion for music and the arts.

Golden grew up in Brooklyn, New York where she attended Canarsie High School, serving as the school's Poet Laureate. Voted Most Likely to Succeed, Golden graduated with honors in 1967, winning the Creative Writing medal, the Lincoln Center Student Award for Academic Excellence, the Scholastic Magazine Award for National Achievement In Art, and a New York State Regents Scholarship. Golden was awarded the National League of Pen Women Prize for poetry and went on to attend Brooklyn College.

A birthday gift (a guitar) from Golden's parents at age eleven would chart her future course. Golden studied classical guitar and voice, but soon found her niche as a singer-songwriter, utilizing her abilities as both wordsmith and vocalist. In order to sing her compositions on demos Golden spent hours using a reel to reel tape recorder to perfect her vocal craft: "When women talk of their idols and influences…they tell stories about singing along with records, trying to copy someone's voice…until they can begin to develop their own style." Golden explains: "I would practice singing to Aretha, Ray Charles, and the Marvelettes , till I could sing all of their licks and runs… the girls' bathroom in high school was a great place to try it out."

At the age of fourteen Golden was making forays into Manhattan, singing on demo sessions and peddling her songs to publishers, landing her first cover by Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles. By the time Golden completed high school, she had the beginnings of a musical autobiography about her adventures in New York's East Village and Lower East Side where she was a resident member of the Henry Street Settlement Playhouse, honing her skills as an actress and playwright. This would become the basis of her Atlantic Records debut LP, Motor-Cycle.

Released on Atlantic Records in 1969, Motor-Cycle is an autobiographical account of Golden's immersion in the life of New York's East Village. Written in music & lyrics because, according to Golden, "a book is too flat," Motor-Cycle describes the underground world of the late 1960s counterculture.

Newsweek hailed Golden as a new breed of female troubadour—an artist who not only sings, but writes her own songs: "What is common to them -- to Joni Mitchell and Lotti Golden, to Laura Nyro, [and] Melanie... are the personalized songs they write, like voyages of self discovery…startling in the impact of their poetry."

Listed among the most influential albums of the era in The New York Times, "The Best of Rock: A Personal Discography," by music critic Nat Hentoff, Motor-Cycle is a synthesis of stream of consciousness confessional poetry, R&B infused vocals and a "sometimes satiric mélange of rock, jazz, blues and soul" with lyrics that evoke "a Kerouac novel."

On an album of "restlessly epic roadhouse suites" Golden uses the story-based format, featuring a cast of archetypal characters while playing the part of "emcee" of her own "aberrant cabaret." Golden's coming of age saga is likely the first rock concept album by a female recording artist.



Music critic Path, of Tiny Mix Tapes, explains how Motor-Cycle plays like a musical, transporting the listener to the late 1960s underground: "Golden gets help on Motor-Cycle from an impeccably arranged Atlantic Records session band… with a flawless, swinging rhythm team. Then, at key moments, the curtain goes up and they've got rows of saxes, trumpets, vibes… and you begin to realize that this is not the same song and dance… it's as if The Velvet Underground recorded for Motown." Golden writes of a "season in hell " she somehow manages to survive. "It's an extraordinary evocation of a life-style… and one girl's plunge into and out of it."

Golden signed a publishing deal as a staff writer with Saturday Music during her junior year of high school. One afternoon as Golden was leaving a demo session, the company's owner, writer/producer Bob Crewe heard her singing in an elevator. Golden told Crewe she was working on material for her own album. Intrigued, Crewe set up a meeting: "When Lotti brought her material to Crewe in 1967, he exclaimed, 'Good God, who are your friends?'" Golden waited one year while Crewe cleared his schedule, and in 1968 began recording an autobiographical album, Motor-Cycle, "a synthesis of funky singing and honest hip lyrics about urban teenage trauma." Atlantic Records moguls, Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun bought the [demo] tapes after one hearing, with Wexler "modestly telling his staff Golden would be the greatest single pop artist since Aretha Franklin."



The release of Motor-Cycle in 1969 generated media interest in Golden. Look magazine described Golden's songs and poetry as "rich in metaphor and starkly descriptive of people and places," stating: "Even in her musically precocious generation, she [Golden] stands out as a singer composer of phenomenal power and originality." In addition to features in national publications, Golden was identified as a fashion trendsetter by Vogue, making several appearances in the magazine. Though Golden made no TV appearances, she is referenced in the cultural commentary on television The Glass Teat. Still, Golden had concerns about the business side of her career, which she voiced in an interview: "The easy part is to sit down and create. The hard part is trying to make yourself heard, the promotion." Although Motor-Cycle wasn't marketed commercially, the album achieved cult status and continues to gain in popularity on the Internet "thanks to the unusual persistence of her [Golden's] art, and the power of listeners' preferences."

Lotti Golden's eponymous sophomore offering was released on GRT Records in 1971. In a live performance for industry executives at NY's Playboy Club, Golden was described by Cash Box as "GRT's Lotti: Incredible." Although elements of Golden's confessional approach remained (Billboard labeled one song "biographical") for the most part, Golden's self-titled LP moved away from the innovative format of Motor-Cycle. Writer Mitchell Shannon characterizes the shift: "Second time around, her music was more conventional and approachable, but lacked that initial compelling insistence of the previous release." Music critic, Robert Christgau, though not a fan of Golden (or Laura Nyro) thought the GRT record could take off with the proper promotion: "He [Christgau] wrote: 'Golden's egregious overstatement registers as a strength.' If you know about Christgau, you'll take that as an honest compliment." Shortly after Golden's album was released, financial problems caused the GRT label to go out of business. (Wikipedia)

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8 komentarzy:

Ankh pisze...

link 1 or link 2.

Anonimowy pisze...

This is one of the best rock albums of all time. Raw, underground, bold and brilliant. Must listen!

Mary J pisze...

I agree with Ankh! "Motor-Cycle" is one of the best albums of the classic rock era. It stands the test of time because of Lotti Golden's artistry. Really bold and unafraid.

wepodtoo pisze...

Thanks for this! Lotti Golden is truly an underground classic. It's a pity that Atlantic Records didn't wind up promoting the album. The lyrics provide so much insight into the culture of the late 1960's, it's almost a cultural laboratory!

humpmud pisze...

One of the greatest albums of the classic rock era. The music of mid to late 1960's demonstrated a period of unprecedented originality and creativity. "Motor-Cycle" really does provide amazing insight into the New York art scene of that era.

csartsong pisze...

Love the photos! Thanks for getting the word out about "Motor-Cyce" (Atlantic). Lotti Golden kind of reminds me of the Amy Winehouse of her era. Atlantic sadly did not promote the LP. By the time of its release, the label was already pushing Dusty Springfield also issued in 1969. It was not the MTV era yet, but there were videos. Because Atlantic abandon the LP, we have no video and a lack of images.

Anonimowy pisze...

"Motor-Cycle" is so visual. Plays like a movie. Would make a super film. Like the Grand Budapest Hotel--a wild story!

kosmikino pisze...

Directed someone to this page but they just informed me the links to the rip are down so managed to find an alternative:

http://www.mediafire.com/download/eqm1nzcqdyz/Lotti+Golden+-+Motor-Cycle.zip

Also there are some great scans of the press-pack that came with the album here:

http://galacticramble.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/lotti-golden-real-and-deep-and-touching.html

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