Band members Related acts
line up 1
- Lotti Golden (aka Lotti Cohn) -- vocals, guitar, keyboards
supporting musicians (1969)
- Everett Barksdale -- guitar, bass
- Vinnie Bell -- guitar
- Ralph Cassales -- guitar
- Bobby Gregg -- drums
- Joe Grimm -- sax
- Ernie Hayes -- keyboards
- Jack Jennings -- percussion
- Herb Loveile -- drums
- Charley Macay -- guitar
- Lou Maurio -- bass
- Hugh McCracken -- guitar
- Alan Raph -- trombone
- Ernie Royal -- trumpet
- Buddy Saltzman -- drums
- Billy Suyker -- guitar
- Joe Venuto -- percussion
supporting musicians (1971)
- Chet Amsterdam -- bass
- Randal Brecker -- horns
- Ronald Cuber -- horns
- Joe Farrell -- horns
- Paul Griffin -- keyboards
- Mike Mainieri -- keyboards, vibes, percussion
- Hugh McCracken -- guitar, harp
- Dennis Seiwell -- drums, percussion
- Marvin Stamm -- horns
- none known
Rating: 3 stars ***
Country/State: Manhattan, New York
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 2920
1967 found Lotti Cohn (aka Lotti Golden) attending high school and working part time as a staff writer for Bob Crewe's Saturday Music imprint. Golden's initial success came when one of her songs was covered by Patti laBelle and the Blue Belles ('Dance To the Rhythm of Love') . Golden also branched out into demo sessions and acting via New York's Henry Street Settlement acting school. Perhaps nothing more than hype, but her big musical break supposedly came when Crewe heard her singing in an elevator. He subsequently signed her, eventually shopping the resulting songs to Atlantic Records where Amhet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler quickly signed her to a recording contract. .
Golden's musical debut came in 1969 with the Crewe produced "Motor-Cycle". Featuring all original material ('Who Are Your Friends' was co-written with Crewe), the album had a distinctive autobiographical feel apparently built around Golden's experiences living a counter-culture existence in New York's East Village. With all seven songs clocking in at over five minutes, the album was certainly unusual for its time with cryptic and not-so-cryptic lyrics that seemingly touched on alienation, sex, drugs, alternative lifestyles, and quite a bit or death. Clearly it didn't make for your typical collection of pop tunes. In places, material like the title track and 'Gonna Fay's' reflected a distinctive '60s girl group feel (imagine leather clad and slightly stoned Ronnettes), but those commercial touches were offset by an eclectic mix that including everything from big band moves (the opening part of 'A Lot Like Lucifer (Celia Said Long Time Loser)'), to blues, hardcore jazz and blue-eyed soul (the Dusty Springfield-meets-Velvet Underground 'Gonna Fay's;). It's one of those album's that's simply hard to adequately describe - imagine a mash up between a tougher, more street smart versions of Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro and a female version of early Lou Reed, or Tom Waites. While a lot of people seemingly find her voice irritating, I never had a problem with her big, powerful voice. Similarly while shared the singer/songwriter label with female contemporaries like Mitchell and Nyro, whereas those artists embraced a love of sorrow with occasional dabs of tenderness, those sentiments were largely absent from this set. That wasn't meant as a criticism. You just didn't want to be left in a dark alley with Golden and her crew of oddball characters after they'd had a couple of drinks.
No idea if any of it is true, but then-boyfriend Michael Mars has gone on record as saying many of the album's ideas were stolen from him and that he actually co-wrote several of the songs, but saw the credits dropped when he complained to producer Crewe.
"Motor-Cycle" track listing:
1.) Motor-Cycle Michael (Lotti Golden) - 8:14 rating: *** stars
Imagine a mid-'60s girl group dipping their toes into a more happenin', pseudo-counter cultural environment and you'd get a feel for what the title track sounded like. Stretching out over eight minutes the song went through various phases, including a jazzy, bohemian segment around the five minute mark, and closing out with a percussion heavy, jam section. The title certainly made you wonder if there may have been something to former boyfriend Mars' claim that he (and his friends) were Golden's main source of inspiration and that he was subsequently screwed out of writing credits on several of the songs.
2.) Gonna Fay's (Lotti Golden) - 8:31 rating: **** stars
Opening up with some discordant guitar that would have made Captain Beefheart smile, just when you thought 'Gonna Fay's' sounded like Dusty Springfield hanging out with The Velvet Underground, Golden broke out her best blue-eyed soul performance. And then the VU came back for a truly disturbing segment. Talk about one completely bizarre song that should have sent me scurrying to skip to the next song ... Totally fascinating and damn if the woman didn't have some amazing chops.. Nice to see they were so upset over what happened to Fay (reportedly a real life person by the name of Faye Parker).
3.) A Lot Like Lucifer (Celia Said Long Time Loser) (Lotti Golden) - 6:32 rating: **** stars
Hum, wasn't expecting the Al Kooper era Blood, Sweat & Tears-styled big band arrangement that opened 'A Lot Like Lucifer (Celia Said Long Time Loser). Speculation on my part, but this one sounded like the song where Golden took out her rage and anger on that former boyfriend ...
Another tune that sounded like Dusty Springfield hanging out with Phil Spector and the Velvet Underground. Wish the plotline was a bit clearer - young girl unexpectedly becomes a mom; gets married quickly, discovers her husband leans both ways (he drops her for another man), leaving her to move to New York where she has the baby, regretting her crappy tastes in men. And then the plotline goes off the tracks having something to do with Golden and her friends heading off to party hosted by the Space Queens.
2.) Who Are Your Friends (Lotti Golden - Bib Crewe) - 5:52 rating: **** stars
With Golden tapping into her best blue-eyed soul voice (funny that a woman from New York could have a distinctive Southern twang), the first two thirds of 'Who Are Your Friends' offered up one oft album's most conventional and commercial tracks. I've always been surprised it wasn't tapped as the single. I certainly liked it better than 'Sock It To Me Baby'.
3.) Get Together (with Yourself) (Lotti Golden) - 5:38 rating: ** stars
'Get Together (with Yourself)' was the song where I could understand why so many folks dislike her voice ... Musically this one served up the worst aspects of Golden's stream-of-consciousness lyrical style. Imagine some trying to sing their shopping list while trying to sound funky and and you'll get for this one.
4.) You Can Find Him (Lotti Golden) - 5:13 rating: *** stars
With a sweet, breezy melody, 'You Can Find Him' was another tune that showcased her affection for '60s girl groups and Gospel influences. Docked a star for sounding a little too desperate for her own good.
Perhaps because the album cuts were so eclectic, Atlantic elected to release a non-LP promotional single:
- 1969's 'Sock It To Me Baby' b/w 'It's Your Thing' (Atlantic catalog number 45-2687)
- 2016's 'Sock It To Me Baby' and 'It's Your Thing' b/w 'Annabelle with Bells (Home Made Girl)' (High Moon Records catalog number HMR45-01)
Golden attracted some media attention, including a story in Look magazine, several photo shoots inVogue (which tagged her as a fasionista), and being name checked in a July, 1969 Newsweek story on the rise of female singer/songwriters "The Girls, Letting Go". None of it did anything to boost sales and the album quickly disappeared into cutout bins.
For anyone interested, Cara McGuire conducted an extensive interview with Golden for the online HelmetHairMagazine blog. You can find it at: http://helmethairmagazine.com/hhm-v2/index.php/lotti-golden/100-cara-mae-mcguire.html
The interview hinted at a major comeback and in 2010 the German Original Music Records label reissued "Motor-Cycle" with the addition of the bonus tracks 'Sock It o Me Baby' and 'It's Your Thing' b/w 'Annabelle with Bells (Home Made Girl)' (Original Music Records catalog number OM 71010).
The rest of the planned comeback including the Golden website seem to have fallen by the wayside.
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Lotti Golden
Country/State: Manhattan, New York
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: unipack sleeve
Catalog ID: 3301
Two years after the release of her debut album, Lotti Golden reappeared on the GRT label with "Lotti Golden". Recorded in New York's Olmstead Sound Studios with Jack Lewis in the production role, the album was reportedly recorded at breakneck speed. As on the debut, the album showcased Golden original compositions - one track 'Mean Dog Blues' co-written with Susan Brustman. Compared to her quirky debut, Golden's sophomore set was rather conventional, if the music remained eclectic and diverse. Unlike the debut where Golden seemed to be showcasing her unconventional, artistic side, on these eleven tracks you got the feeling she was trotting out a host of different musical styles in effort to showcase how dynamic her skills set was. You literally got a little bit of everything this time around. While some folks hear an echo of Dr. John in it, to me the opener 'Staircase Between the Floors' recalled a young Tom Waits. The jazzy 'This Time I Wanna Lose' recalled Billie Holiday. 'Lately (I Feel Like I Wanna Wake Up Out of this Dream)' incorporated Gospel influences. The blues-rocker 'Tell Me What's On Your Mind' had a Joplin vibe to it. Released as an instantly obscure single, the funky 'Do You Lose It' sounded like Golden had been overdosing on James Brown.
Certainly not a great album and certainly not as impressive as the debut, but on a song-for-song basis the collection had a couple of nice moments.
Unfortunately for Golden, almost as soon as the album was released GRT ran into serious financial problems, eventually dropping out of the music business entirely. That meant the album received little publicity, or promotional support.
Goldeb" track listing:
1.) Staircase Between the Floors (Lotti Golden) - 3:03 rating: *** stars
Geez, if you ever wondered where Tom Waits picked up his music persona, I'd suggest he owes a big debt to Lotti Golden. And like most of Waits repertoire, 'Staircase Between the Floors' reflected some deeply personal, stream-of-concious lyrics set to a hypnotic, rather stoned jazzy riff rather than a full blown, recognizable song structure.
2.) Do You Use It (Lotti Golden) - 3:24 rating: *** stars
With a strange junkie-meets-James Brown blaxploitation flick vibe, 'Do You Use It' was the album's most commercial track. Complete with blaring horn arrangement, it was still amazing to see that GRT actually tapped the song as an instantly forgotten single:
- 1971's 'Do You Use It' b/w Staircase Between the Floors' (GRT catalog number 34 001/S)
3.) North Carolina Sun (Lotti Golden) - 3:00 rating: ** stars
.North Carolina Sun' was a pretty enough ballad, but why did she sound like she was in the middle of methadone withdrawal ???
4.) Ballad of Little H (Lotti Golden) - 3:52 rating: *** stars
Well, it opened up with a brief 'Staircase Between the Floors' refrain, before morphing into a country-blues tune.
5.) Tell Me What's On Your Mind (Lotti Golden) - 3:00 rating: ** stars
Joplin-esque blues ... pass.
6.) Mean Dog Blues (Lotti Golden - Susan Brustman) - 2:01 rating: ** stars
Conventional country-blues ... pass.
1.) Just like the River (Ballad of Jimmy Hill and Me) (Lotti Golden) - 3:10 rating: *** stars
After all of the side one blues numbers, the fact 'Just like the River (Ballad of Jimmy Hill and Me)' actually had a recognizable melody made for a nice change of pace. Hopefully the lyrics weren't autobiographical. Always wondered why this one reminded me of something Bobby Gentry might have recorded.
2.) This Time I Wanna Lose (Lotti Golden) - 4:04 rating: ** stars
Hum, hearing Golden trot out her best Billie Holiday impression on the jazzy 'This Time I Wanna Lose' was kind of a strange experience. Employing a very husky delivery, Golden certainly had the kind of voice that could pull it off. On the other hand, every time I hear the song I can't help but think I'd rather listen to the real thing. Maybe if I'd been sitting in some dark New York Club drinking shots it would have been different ...
3.) Lately (I Feel Like I Wanna Wake Up Out of this Dream) (Lotti Golden) - 5:24 rating: *** stars
Maybe I'm alone, but the slurred vocals on the Gospel-tinged ballad 'Lately (I Feel Like I Wanna Wake Up Out of this Dream)' have always irritated me. The highlight on this one came in the form of High McCracken's fluid and tuneful lead guitar.
4.) It Feels So Good, Do It Again (Lotti Golden) - 4:58 rating: *** stars
Girl group meets blues? Yeah, I'm sure it was meant to be funky and Motown-ish, but it wasn't. In fact, hearing all the shrieking female backing singers simply gave me a headache. The tune was a lot better when it was just Golden singing.
5.) Just Like the River (Reprise) (Lotti Golden) - 1:40 rating: *** stars
More of a song snippet than anything, 'Just Like the River (Reprise)' benefited from the fact it was one of the collection's most straightforward performances and a track where Golden didn't try to affect any kind of street-wise, hip-chick persona.
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