The Feminine Complex
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1966-69)
Mindy Dalton (aka Melinda Lee Dalton) --
- The Pivots
Rating: *** (3 stars)
Title: Livin' Loving
Country/State: Nashville, Kentucky
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 30336
First let me mention that some folks have claimed this outfit was a joke - literally an elaborate hoax staged by studio musicians out to fool a gullible audience. Based on what I know, including having talked to folks who actually saw the group perform, I don't subscribe to such a theory. Instead, Nashville's little known The Feminine Complex have to be seen as groundbreakers (albeit some twenty years ahead of popular tastes). As an all girl, self-contained band, simply having had the talent, skills and fortitude to record an album in the late-'60s stands as an amazing accomplishment. The fact the set is as good as it is, makes it all the more impressive.
front row left to right :Pam Stephens - Jean Williams - Judy Griffiths
back row left to right: Lana Napiers - Mindy Dalton
Attending Nashville's Maplewood High School, in 1966 sophomores Lana Napiers and Jean Williams decided to form their own band. They quickly recruited fellow students/friends Mindy Dalton and Judy Griffith, practicing under the name The Pivots (the name apparently suggested by their basketball coach). Within a couple of months, the quartet had mastered their instruments, as well as cobbling together a set of popular covers. They began playing dances and talent shows, including an early date at one of their school assemblies. Adding friend/keyboard player Pame Stephens to the lineup, the quintet opted for a name change. As The Feminine Complex, by the following year the group was regularly gaining paying dates (probably not hurt by their attractive looks at penchant for high boots and miniskirts). By 1968 the band was beginning to attract considerable attention, including appearances on local Nashville television shows (The Noon Show and The Ralph Emery Show). The resulting publicity led to an opening slot for a 1910 Fruitgum Company concert in New York City and appearance on NBC's Showcase '68 television program. They also caught the attention of Dee Kilpatrick and Rick Powell. Having just formed their own Athena label, they were the first band signed to the new label.
performing on NBC's Showcase
left to right Pame Stephens - Jean Williams - Judy Griffith - Lana Napiers - Mindy Dalton
Ironically, by the time the record was released, falling victim to
parental pressure to complete high school, Napiers, Stephens and Williams had
all quit the band. That probably explains why Dalton and Griffith were
the only two band members shown on the back cover. Within a matter of
months the other two had called it quits.
1.) Hide and Seek (Mindy Dalton) - 3:36 rating: **** stars
and Seek' was an interesting opener managing to blend a disconcerting, discordant
edge, lysergic vibe with
a highly commercial chorus. Kicked along by Dalton's surprisingly
powerful voice, snaky fuzz guitar, and lovely backing vocals, it was an
eye opening way to start the album.
ballad that may have been a bit too MOR-ish for the band's overall
image. That said, there was no denying Dalton had a sexy
voice. Very radio friendly.
more loungy than the previous tune, 'Are You Lonesome Like Me' captured
the band at their nadir. Complete with Herb Alpert styled horn
arrangement, this one sounded like it belonged on a throwaway 'B' porno flick
soundtrack. Actually, it reminds me of something that a band
like Everything But the Girl might have recorded in the mid-'80s. Probably one of the album's most forgettable
'I Won't Run' remained commercial, but had an up-tempo melody that underscored their commercial pop potential, which probably explains why it was tapped as the album's third single.
1969's 'I Won't Run' b/w 'Forgetting' (Athena catalog number 5006)
what must have been a surprisingly risqué lyric for a bunch of young
girls in 1969, 'Six O'Clock In the Morning (You're Gone)', was a pretty
ballad showcasing a killer Jean Williams bass
'Run That Thru Your Mind' found the group returning to a harder edge song. Dalton wrote the tune, but it didn't sound like her voice on the lead vocal - perhaps Judy Griffith ? Complete with start and stop song structure and some lysergic touches, it was a pretty cool performance, though the horn arrangement was a massive distraction. The tune was tapped as a promo 45:
1969's 'Run That Thru Your Mind' b/w 'Are You Lonesome Like Me'' (Athena
1.) It's Magic (Mindy Dalton) - 2:34 rating: **** stars
up with some nifty growling guitar effects and another killer Jean
Williams bass line, 'It's Magic' unexpectedly
bounced back and forth between growling psych and bouncy Gospel moves
... sound strange ? Yeah it was strange and
way cool ... My favorite performance on the album.
would have expected them to borrow a page out of the Aretha Franklin
school of women-standing-up-for-themselves school of soul? Quite energetic with the album's best guitar solo, and a
distinctive soul edge ... Once again, the tune would have been
better without the horn arrangement.
by bassist Williams, the bouncy, pop-oriented 'Forgetting' sounded
completely unlike anything else on the album. Imagine something
Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits might have recorded had they been a bunch of Nashville
girls. The song unexpectedly reappeared on the 1999 "Girl
Complete with bouncy melody, tasty lead guitar, and James Brown-influenced horn charts, 'I've been Working On You' was easily the album's most radio friendly tune, explaining why it was the lead off single.
Workin' On You'
b/w 'Six O'Clock In the Morning (You're Gone)' (Athena catalog
5.) Time Slips By (When You Are On My Mine) (Mindy Dalton) - 4:01 rating: *** stars
Opening up with mind-blowing psych effects, 'Time Slips By (When You Are On My Mine) ' quickly morphed into MOR easily listening mode, though Pame Stephens was given a chance to showcase her keyboard chops. The track returned to lysergic territory with an off, tortured ending. Strange way to end the album.
The group also released at least one non-LP single:
- 1969's 'Part the Curtains of My Hair' b/w 'Anyway You Want Me' (Aletha 5011)
I've never heard it, but in 1997 the small Northern Virginia based Teenbeat label released "To Be In Love: A Collection of Live Performances and Rare Demolition Recordings" (Teenbeat catalog number 236). A 21 track compilation of demos and live tracks, the collection actually sounds pretty interesting though I've never been album to track down a copy.
In 2000 the label reissued the collection in CD format along with various demos (Teenbeat catalog # TB-196).
"To Be In Love: A Collection of Live Performances and Rare Demolition Recordings" track listing:
Stone, (I'm Not Your)
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