Linda Lewis

Say No More…

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When even her first "best of" collection (1974's Heart Strings) ignores one of the three albums at its disposal, you know there's something oddly amiss about the record in question. And elsewhere, too, Linda Lewis' first solo album is rarely afforded more than a second glance, as a clearly inexperienced vocalist steps out beneath the tutelage of two comparative giants -- producer Ian Samwell and guitarist Jim Cregan -- but no firm ideas of exactly how she wants to present the songs she's written. Look behind the often tentative performances, and the often unsympathetic production, however, and Say No More really doesn't deserve its obscurity. At least some of the credit has to go to a dynamite band arrayed behind her -- guitarist Chris Spedding, Pentangle drummer Terry Cox, and King Crimson alumni Ian McDonald all make notable contributions to the landscape. But Lewis, too, has her moments. Balanced between the love songs that lined Lewis up alongside a host of other early-decade singer/songwriters, and the more personal observations of people and places that would quickly see her step to the front of the line, Say No More's greatest strength is its refusal to allow its naiveté to hinder Lewis' performance. "Hampstead Way" and "Peter's Garden" are both lovely ruminations, while "Funky Kitchen" overcomes the disadvantages of a frankly dreadful title (and chorus) to illustrate her refusal to be tied to one sound. It would be another year or so before Lark, her second album, truly led Lewis out of the shadows. But the best of Say No More at least sent her on her way.

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