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Wendy and Lisa/Girl Bros.


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Mainstream & alternative pop, psychedelic funk

Status:

Most recent release, Snapshots (EP, 2011); most recent full-length release, White Flags of Winter Chimneys (2008/2009)

See also:

Wendy and Lisa/Girl Bros. site

Comparisons:

The Artist Formerly Known as Prince; some vague similarities to Smashing Pumpkins especially in the last couple albums.

Covers/own material:

Write own lyrics and music with occasional collaboration.

General comments:

Wendy and Lisa's four albums have been an evolution, a ever-maturing path from their roots as part of Prince's band, The Revolution, to the amazingly talented musicians, songwriters, and producers that they are today. In the late '80s and '90s I became a huge Wendy & Lisa fan, and Wendy is quite the guitarist. I had the pleasure of seeing them live on tour for Eroica, and again, despite my adoration of Lisa (I have a thing for keyboard players...it all started with Christine McVie) Wendy really impressed me as a guitarist. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Recommended first album:

Girl Bros. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Recordings:


Wendy and Lisa

Release info:

1987—Columbia—CK 40862

Availability:

Readily available

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of The Artist formerly known as Prince, psychedelic funk and jazz-influenced funk.

Group members:

Wendy Melvoin—vocals, bass, guitars, drums, percussion, organ, programming
Lisa Coleman—vocals, keyboards, piano, synthesizers, percussion

Guest Musicians:

Jonathan—percussion, drum overdubs, cymbals, congas, drums
Tom Scott—soprano saxophone, lyricon
Cole—vocals
Carla—cymbals, drums
Susannah—vocals
David—percussion
Gary Coleman—congas

Produced by:

Wendy and Lisa and Bobby Z

Comments:

Wendy and Lisa's debut solo effort is a mix of high highs and somewhat forgettable lows. Their first single, "Waterfall" is, in my opinion, one of the best modern songs around. They hadn't yet found a definite style and it seemed they were trying to prove their ability as musicians and producers on this album. Still, definitely worthwhile and containing many strong works. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Wendy and Lisa were so solid when they were with Prince and the Revolution. They really helped to define the sound that *was* Prince during his most prolific and creative period, in my opinion. My first exposure to their debut recording was when I saw their video for "Waterfall" on MTV. I immediately went out and bought the CD.
     Wendy and Lisa are marvelous musicians. Wendy is an excellent guitarist. Her overall playing is intelligent and her solos are creative and passionate throughout the recording. I also really like her funky wah-wah pedal playing on a number of the tunes. Lisa is a very good keyboard player that mixes different types of sounds to create an overall effective, and at times ethereal, keyboard sound. They both have really great singing voices for both lead and harmony. The harmonies they create are rich and sumptuous.
     Their debut has so many great songs on it. The CD is a mix of well-crafted funky R&B pop ("Honeymoon Express", "Sideshow", "Waterfall", "Blues Away", "Everything But You", "Light"), beautiful ballads ("Stay", "Song About", "The Life") and cool jazzy pieces (the elegant "Chance To Grow", "White Blue Away"—which has some outstanding soprano sax and lyricon playing from Tom Scott). The whole CD has a really sultry and sensual feel to it. The flow and pace from song to song is really wonderful as well. I highly recommend this CD. (wpm@value.net)


Fruit at the Bottom

Release info:

1989—CBS Records—CK 44341

Availability:

Available online and in England

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of The Artist formerly known as Prince

Group members:

Wendy—lead vocals, background, guitars, bass, drums, programming
Lisa—lead vocals, background, piano, keyboards, programming

Guest artists:

Susannah and Cole—vocals
Carla—drums
Jesse Johnson—guitar on "Satisfaction"

Produced by:

Wendy & Lisa

Comments:

The ladies do it all on their sophomore effort, playing just about everything you hear on the album, writing the songs, and producing as well. Fruit at the Bottom is Wendy & Lisa's funkiest album, and in some ways, their most reminiscent of Prince. While I enjoy the album a lot, it's the one I play the least. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Eroica

Release info:

1990—Virgin Records—2-91378

Availability:

Available online and in Germany

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Wendy Melvoin—lead and background vocals, guitar, electric and acoustic basses, oud, harmonicas, drums, drum programming, programming, tambora, percussion
Lisa Coleman—lead and background vocals, piano, Hammond B3, keyboards, acoustic guitar, harmonium, hurdy gurdy, harmonica, programming, drum programming, percussion

Guest artists:

Carla Azar—brush snare, drums
Cole Ynda—background vocals, percussion
Susannah Melvoin—background vocals, percussion
Tony Berg—hurdy gurdy on "Strung Out"
k.d. lang—featured vocals on "Mother of Pearl"
C. Bruce—guitar
A. Kamal—bass
David Coleman—electric cello on "Why Wait for Heaven"
Eric Leeds—all horns, and arrangement on "Skeleton Key"

Produced by:

Wendy & Lisa with Tony Berg

Comments:

Wendy & Lisa move to the next level of musical maturity with Eroica. Combining their brash funk, with a psychedelic feel and top notch musicianship and production, Eroica is a winner on all counts. This album matches the best Prince has offered. An amazing mixture of gentle acoustic ditties, lush, layered ballads, upbeat pop gems and powerfully intense, psychedelic anthems. I was fortunate to catch them live for the Eroica tour and it was simply incredible. I wouldn't be surprised if Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins was a fan of this album as the band's recent sound is not that far off from Wendy & Lisa's. (colford@chlotrudis.org)

Girl Bros.

Release info:

1998—Girl Bros.—WDW10089-2

Availability:

Available

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Wendy and Lisa—all instruments except where noted

Guest artists:

Chris Bruce—guitar on "All Nite"
Susannah Melvoin—background vocals on "I Will"

Produced by:

Tchad Blake with Wendy & Lisa

Comments:

Oh my God! It's been a looooooong wait, but finally Wendy & Lisa are back with a new recording...and it is awesome. Quite possibly the best thing they've ever done, certainly the warmest and most mature. Oh man I am so excited about this album. They seem to be working under the name Girl Bros. now, so if you don't find it under Wendy & Lisa check under the Gs. The album is dedicated to Jonathan Melvoin, Wendy's brother who died while he was the touring keyboardist for the Smashing Pumpkins. Like his sister, Jonathan was an amazingly accomplished musician who wrote some of the beautiful orchestral pieces on Prince's Around The World In A Day album. The most beautiful song on the album is written and sung by Lisa (Coleman) and it's called "Jonathan". Worth the price of the CD alone, but you'll love all of it because these women BLOW MY MIND! God, they are SO talented I can't stand it! (stunning@tezcat.com)

Wow! Talk about a mature album. The former Revolution bandmembers go by the name of Girl Bros. for this album, and it's one you have to check out. Wendy & Lisa play virtually all the instruments on this superbly arranged album that highlights their slightly psychedelic, acoustic guitar-driven sound with a touch of funk from their Revolution days. Dedicated to Wendy's brother Jonathan Melvoin who died of a drug overdose a couple year ago, the lyrics are mature and moving. If you only know Wendy & Lisa from their Prince days, check them out. This is their fourth album and I'm hoping for a lot more!
     Girl Bros. continues the mature blend of psychedelic pop and funk that Eroica explored and adds a dimension of real grief and reflection in the lyrics. Perhaps a little less playful and more serious than previous works, I count Girl Bros. as Wendy & Lisa's finest work, barely surpassing the amazing Eroica. If you liked the direction Wendy & Lisa were heading in on Eroica, then you'll probably like Girl Bros. Definitely a more stripped-down, earthy sound than their early days. Excellent songwriting, terrific arrangements, moving lyrics, and just great music. They've got that pseudo-psychedelic rock, acoustic funk down cold. (colford@chlotrudis.org)


Further info:

Wendy & Lisa have done an amazing amount of session work, as musicians, songwriters and producers in a wide array of musical genres. Here is a brief list of some of the artists and albums they've worked on: Appollonia 6 (1984), Jean Louis Aubert, Doyle Bramhall II, Miles Ciletti: Long Days and Monster Nights, Sheryl Crow: The Globe Sessions (1998), Andre Cymone (1985), Nona Gaye: Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler), k.d. lang: Drag, Joni Mitchell: Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm, Me'Shell Ndegeocello: Peace Beyond Passion, Michael Penn: March, Prince: Dirty Mind, Prince: Controversy, Prince: 1999, Prince & the Revolution: Purple Rain, Prince & the Revolution: Around the World in a Day, Prince & the Revolution: Parade, Prince: Sign O' the Times, Prince: Black Album, Prince: The Hits/The B Sides (Box Set), Seal (1991), Seal (1994), Seal: Human Being (1998), Three O' Clock: Vermillion, The Time: The Time (1981), The Time: Ice Cream Castles (1984), and Toys (Soundtrack).


Thanks to Michael Colford for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2012-05-15 19:54:31.
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