Lily & Maria

Band members               Related acts

- Lily Fishman (Isaacs) -- vocals, guitar (1968)
- Marie Neumann -- vocals, guitar (1968)



- none known





Genre: pop

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Lily & Maria

Company: Columbia

Catalog: CS 9707

Year: 1968

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: minor ring, edge and corner wear

Available: 1

GEMM Catalog ID: 5913

Price: $100.00


When I set up my small website and started selling rare albums a couple of years ago, this was one of the first items I put up for sale.  My description of the album wasn't all that charitable and I felt really bad when I ended up selling a copy of the album to one of the two group members who was looking for a copy for one of her grandchildren.   (I won't swear to it, but I think Lily Fishman-Isaacs was the buyer).  Anyhow, I've been harboring a sense of guilt the last couple of years and when I stumbled across another copy of the album I figured I'd give it another shot.  I've been wrong about other albums, so who knows ...   My updated comments are at the end of the original review ...


I'll readily admit that I didn't like this album very much, but remember that it's just my lame opinion.  For better or worse, this one's begun to attract some attention from collectors (including showing up in Hans Pokora's 5001 Record Collector Dreams.  It's also begun to pop up on dealer's lists, described as a great slice of lost psych ... Um, not quite.

Born in Germany, but raised in the Bronx by a pair of Holocaust survivors, Lily Fishman studied theater in her teens. By the mid-1960s she was performing on Off Broadway where, together with friend Marie Neumann, the pair somehow attracted the attention of Columbia Records. Signed to a recording contract, 1968's the cleverly titled "Lily & Marie" teamed the pair with producers Garry Sherman and Stanley Kahan.  In terms of credits, Neumann wrote most of the material and seems to have handled most of vocals. Here I'll actually admit to the fact I picked up a copy of the LP given I'd seen various references describing it as being "moody psych" and "acid folk". Chalk that description up to dealer hype. So if it ain't psych, what is it? Imagine a female Simon and Garfunkel. Now eliminate some of the songwriting talent; delete some of the vocal abilities; eradicate most Simon and Garfunkel's limited sense of humor and for good measure add on a mix of cloying lyrics and nauseating arrangements. Yup, that'll give you a pretty good picture of the results. Basically it's hard to decide what was worse, the duo's lame stabs at making big and sensitive statements ('Subway Thoughts' and 'Ismene - Jasime'), or Neuman's little girl lost voice. To my ears the woman really had to work to come within a mile of hitting a song's melody (not that I could do anywhere near as good). Given the album vanished without a trace, most folks (or at least the few that heard it), apparently agreed.

"Lily & Marie" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Subway Thoughts   (Marie Neumann) - 
2.) Everybody Knows   (Marie Neumann) - 
3.) I Was (instrumental)   (Marie Neumann) - 
4.) Ismene - Jasime   (Lily Fishman) - 
5.) They'll Be No Clowns Tonight   (Marie Neumann) - 

(side 2)

1.) Aftermath   (Marie Neumann) - 
2.) Morning Glory Morning   (Marie Neumann) - 
3.) Melt Me   (Marie Neumann) - 
4.) Fourteen After One   (Lily Fishman - Marie Neumann) - 

Now here's where it gets really weird. Born and raised in a Jewish household, in the early-1970s Fishman discovered religion - she became a Christian. Subsequently married to Joe Isaacs, Fishman-Isaacs ended up in Tennessee where she raised a family. As The Isaacs, the family tours the country as bluegrass-cum-Gospel performers.  They even have a small website:



So that was a pretty brutal write-up and one of the few two star ratings I've ever assigned.  What did I think some five years later?  Well, I was clearly overly harsh.  The album was nowhere near as bad as my initial comments, however it was far from perfect and still isn't something that I would regularly dump on my play list.  That said, I can understand why some folks are big fans.


- 'Subway Thoughts' bounced all over the map.  It started out with some wayward, pseudo-jazzy moves before morphing into a stark, pained ballad featuring Neumann and acoustic guitar.  About a minute into the track it exploded into a more conventional rock segment (complete with keyboard and fuzz guitar) that was actually pretty good.  It then moved back and forth between the softer passages and the up-tempo rock segments.  I missed it the first time around, but the song had two things going for it; the women were actually surprisingly good harmony singers and the song had  a very tasty acoustic guitar solo.   rating: *** stars

- A stark, acoustic ballad, 'Everybody Knows' was pretty much a downer through and through.  I'm sure it was very profound, but stuff like 'I knew the shape of thirsty flowers' simply didn't cut it for me.  That said, the song's pathos and literary images should appeal to English majors everywhere.   rating: ** stars

- 'I Was' offered up another fragile ballad,. Next song please.   rating: ** stars

- A brief instrumental segment, 'Ismene - Jasime' featured some pretty acoustic guitar and interesting keyboard textures, but otherwise didn't make much of an impression.   rating: ** stars

- So 'They'll Be No Clowns Tonight' encapsulated everything I disliked about this album.  The lyrics were incredibly pretentious.  If a high school kid turned in something like this you'd have given them a failing grade, or suggested they adjust their meds.  Yeah, everyone feels they have something important to say, but this was so so over-the-top as to be funny.  Musically the song wasn't any better, just kind of bouncing along without any direction.  The good news was that 30 second after it was over you'd forgotten everything about the song.   rating: ** stars

- 'Aftermath' started out another hyper-sensitive, fragile ballad, but improved when the first chorus kicked in and the song began to pick up some speed and a full band arrangement.  Not great, but at least there was a recognizable melody to this one and I'll admit their harmony vocals weren't bad.   rating: *** stars

- Complete with flute solo romping along in the background, 'Morning Glory Morning' had a lite-jazzy feel.  The waivery vocal remained an acquired taste, and while the song didn't immediately grab me by the throat, it was one of the performances that got better the more you heard it.   rating: ** stars

- Opening with a nice bass pattern and some cool acoustic guitar, 'Melt Me' was actually the album's most commercial and mainstream performance.  Framed by a full band arrangement, on this one Fishman and Neuman turned in a performance that was actually memorable and enjoyable - imagine a precursor to something Kate Bush might have recorded.   rating: **** stars

- 'Fourteen After One' found the pair pulling a page from the 'Eleanor Rigby' catalog.  Lyrically it didn't have a great deal to say - how many times can you point out that getting old sucks?  That said, driven along by a nice organ, this one had a pretty melody and on this one they showcased some very nice harmony vocals.   rating: **** stars


Call it Catholic guilt, but I think this time around the review's far more balanced and accurate.  Apologies for anyone I misled the first time around.