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Luba


Country of origin:

Canada

Type of music generally:

Folk/rock, radio-friendly pop, pop with a twist, rock

Status:

Most recent album, From the Bitter to the Sweet (2000)

See also:

Maple Music's Luba pages

Canoe Jam's page on Luba

Comparisons:

Earlier material similar to Simple Minds circa 1985 (Once Upon a Time). Latest album took a turn for a more acoustic rock flavor with strong vocals similar to Melissa Etheridge.

Covers/own material:

Own material with one or two covers, or songs written by others.

General comments:

Luba's music has evolved through the 1980s. Their first album recorded in 1980 has a very dated, new-wave, synth-pop sound. As the decade progressed, their music evolved into a more alternative pop/rock sound until their last album to date found them exploring a harder edged, guitar-driven folk/rock sound. The unifying constant is the powerful vocals of lead vocalist, Luba Kowalchyk. All their material has an anthemic quality similar to The Alarm's, while later works echo the style of Tom Petty. Driving rhythms, sweeping melodies, soaring vocals and earthy, unbridled optimism and passion are common threads throughout their career. A little pop, but a fabulous voice and I wish she would record again. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Recommended first album:

All or Nothing if you're a fan of folk rock, Between the Earth & Sky if you like pop music with an edge. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Recordings:


Chain Reaction

Release info:

1980—Unidisc Music, 57-B Hymus Boulevard, Pointe Claire, Quebec, Canada H9R 4T2—AGEK-2010

Availability:

Possibly available in Canada. Available through on-line music stores.

Ecto priority:

For fans only

Group members:

Luba Kowalchyk—vocals
Peter Marunczak—drums
Mike Zwonok—bass
John Nestorowich—rhythm guitar, vocals
Mark Lyman—rhythm and lead guitar
Doug Short—keyboards

Produced by:

Tony Green

Comments

This was Luba's first release, and is very dated. Extremely new-wave sound with cheesy synthesized keyboards. Good for a laugh. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Secrets and Sins

Release info:

1984—Capitol—S21 53006

Availability:

Available in Canada

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of '80s alterna-pop.

Group members:

Luba—all lead and backing vocals
Peter Marunzak—drums and percussion
Michael Bell—bass and backing vocals
Mark Lyman—guitars and backing vocals
Pierre Marchand—keyboards and backing vocals

Guest artists:

Daniel Lanois—additional percussion

Produced by:

Daniel Lanois

Comments:

This was Luba's breakout album that made them nationally known in Canada. Heavy reliance on synthesizers and a new-found love of pseudo-reggae rhythms dates this album squarely in them mid-eighties. Some standout tracks include "Everytime I See Your Picture" and the title track. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Between the Earth

Release info:

1986—Capitol Records—CDP 7 46433-2

Availability:

Available in Canada

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for those who love a big, pop sound with strong vocals and a twist.

Group members:

Luba—vocals
Pete Marunzak—drums, drum programming and noise
Michael Bell—bass
Mark Lyman—guitars
Alain Couture—guitars and vocals

Guest artists:

Daniel Barbe—keyboards and backing vocals
Alain Simard—emulator programming
The Sherwoods—backing vocals
Kenny G—sax solo on "How Many"

Produced by:

Pierre "Baz" Bazinet and "Luba"
"How Many" produced by Narada Michael Walden

Comments:

Big, soaring vocals, rhythmic, keyboard programming, anthematic lyrics and lots of emotion are the earmarks of Between the Earth & Sky. This was the album that turned me on to Luba in a big way. I was nuts for this album. Reminiscent of Simple Minds' Once Upon a Time album, only with female vocals. Title track, "Act of Mercy," "Even in the Darkest Moments," and "Innocent (With an Explanation)" are standout tracks. What Luba lacks in finesse, they makes up for with sheer power and emotion. She's got an amazing voice. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Over 60 Minutes with Luba

Release info:

1987—Capitol Records—C20 7777 48553 2 7

Availability:

Available in Canada

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of '80s alterna-pop

Group members:

Luba—vocals
Pete Marunzak—drums, drum programming
Michael Bell—bass, backing vocals
Mark Lyman—guitars, backing vocals
Michel Corriveau—keyboards
Jeff Smallwood—guitar, backing vocals
The Sherwoods—backing vocals

Guest artists:

Daniel Lanois—percussion
Narada Michael Walden—percussion
Andy Narell—percussion

Produced by:

Pierre "Baz" Bazinet and "Luba"

Comments:

"Everytime I See Your Picture" was probably just about her biggest hit, in my book at least. She had a song before that called "scarlett letter," I believe, but inexplicably this was not included on this CD. Bummer, because it's also a really good song. About half the songs on this greatest hits CD are what I would term, garbage. It's too bad she sold out because she does have a very strong voice. (mjmjminla@yahoo.com)

A strong collection with songs from Luba's second and third albums. In addition, this collection includes "The Best Is Yet to Come," a song Luba recorded for the 9-1/2 Weeks soundtrack, and a live version of the classic, "When a Man Loves a Woman." The latter was a Top 10 hit in Canada. (colford@chlotrudis.org)


All or Nothing

Release info:

1989—Capitol Records—C2-93176

Availability:

Available in Canada

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Luba—vocals, acoustic guitar
Jeff Smallwood—guitar, mandolin, pedal steel, five string banjo, background vocals
Michel Corrivo—organ, piano, Wurlitzer, harmonium, synthesizers, background vocals
Pete Marunzak—drums, background vocals

Guest artists:

Mike Bell—additional bass "On My Way"
Mike Campbell—guitar, bass, keyboards and mandolin on "Wild Heart"
Mickey Curry—drums "Giving Away a Miracle"
Seth Glassman—bass
Larry Hughes—background vocals
Frank Pagano—percussion
Steve Reid—percussion
Paul Shaffer—piano solo "As Good As It Gets"
Dorion Sherwood—background vocals
Bette Sussman—additional keyboards "No More Words"
Tom Torre—fiddle "Wild Heart"
Jimmy Vivino—rhythm guitar "In Trouble Again"; acoustic guitar "A Little Salvation"; slide guitar "On My Way"; background vocals
Peter White—classical guitar "Milena"

Produced by:

Joe Chiccarelli and Jimmy Vivino except "Wild Heart" produced by Mike Campbell

Comments:

Luba must have gotten tired of the over-produced, synthesized 1980s because as the '90s approached, they radically changed their musical style. Gone were the sequencers and programmed rhythms, in were the acoustic guitars and Hammond organ. The passion and powerful voice of Luba were still present, but the music was now more in line with Melissa Etheridge or Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Surprisingly, the band handles the shift in style incredibly well. There's even a live acoustic version of their old hit, "How Many" as a b-side to one of the singles off this album that shows how a new interpretation of an old song fits right in to their new musical style. Great stuff. Leaves me wondering what they'll sound like if they ever return. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

From the Bitter to the Sweet

Release info:

2000—Azure Music—AZCD-1200

Availability:

Canadian sources

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans. Worth a listen for the curious. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Group members:

Luba—vocals, acoustic guitar
Rick Haworth—electric guitar, octave mandolin
Norman Di Blasio—piano, keyboards, drum programming
Kevin De Souza—bass
Eric Lange—drums, percussion
Don Meunier—classical and acoustic guitar
Ligia Paquin—viola
François Pilan—violin
Sheila Hannigan—cello

Guest artists:

Andrew Creegan—percussion, dulcimer "Let Me Be the One"
Pat Sheehan—acoustic, electric guitars "From the Bitter to the Sweet"
Borza Shomeshi—electric guitar "I Am What I Am"

Produced by:

Borza Ghomeshi; additional production by Eric Lange

Comments:

I was a huge fan of Luba in the '80s. This is her first release in about 13 years! And it sounds like she picked up pretty much where she left off. Her albums Secrets & Sins and Between the Earth & Sky were lushly, produced, '80s new wave/pop at its best, powered by Luba's amazing, powerhouse voice. With her later release, All or Nothing, Luba eschewed the style and long gloves for a decidedly Americana, John Mellencamp roots rock & roll approach, which utilized her strong voice to good effect. Now, with From the Bitter to the Sweet, Luba has blended the two styles in a surprisingly reigned in/subdued way. The music is acoustic-driven, but with heavy use of synthesizer. Her trademark, big voice is evident, but she has learned to use restraint...the dynamic is fabulous. Luba has obviously gone through some hard times since her last album, and the lyrics reflect that. Oddly enough, many of these songs were written in the early '90s, and must have been written for an album that never materialized. Conspicuously absent is the name of her husband and former drummer. Perhaps this is the hard time she references in her lyrics. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Further info:

Luba contributed two songs to the soundtrack for the movie 9 1/2 Weeks, "The Best is Yet to Come," and "Let It Go."


Thanks to Michael R. Colford for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2012-05-14 20:45:04.
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