...And I Mean It is an amalgam of girl group, new wave, blues, pop, and folk-rock by Genya Ravan. To hear her exquisite voice on "Night Owl" soaring above her own backing vocals is intense, imagine Etta James backed by the Sex Pistols doing a rock version of "Earth Angel." Of all Ravan's work, ...And I Mean It is possibly the most concise and picture-perfect statement of what the woman is musically about. A girl group pioneer who worked with Richard Perry prior to his finding the Pointer Sisters groove, there is no doubt Ravan influenced that major producer, and his work did the same for her. "Pedal to the Medal" is high-end treble rock before it came into vogue. This is the other side of Siren, the album Genya produced for Ronnie Spector, with more emphasis on a good-time rocking party. "I'm Wired, Wired, Wired" is a rock & roll anthem for people who burn the candle at both ends, while "I Won't Sleep on the Wet Spot" embodies the unbridled sexuality of this album. The music crunches while Ravan uses her voice, her production skills, and her legacy to create something far removed from her days in Ten Wheel Drive. The horns are replaced by searing guitars and Charlie Giordano's magical piano work. The sound of the keyboard and its erratic splashes really are key to "I Won't Sleep on the Wet Spot," while the guitar and bass battle it out. "Steve...," on the other hand, is Goldie & the Gingerbreads ten years after. This Ravan/Conrad Taylor composition was the 45 from the album, and it has "hit" written all over it. 20th Century just didn't have the right mechanisms in place to get some of the great music they put out on radio, such a pity as Harriet Schock, Randy Edelman, and the fake soundtrack for All This and World War II (a Beatles tribute album) contained songs that should have been big hits. What did hit off this album, on FM radio as an album track, is the brilliant duet by Ian Hunter and Ravan, the subtle and folky "Junkman." Released on Hunter's excellent Once Bitten Twice Shy CD on Legacy in 2000, the song and the performance are timeless. Ravan once said: "I was asleep with the tv on, and was saying to myself...that's my voice...that's my song...that's me! I woke up to find "Junkman" on TV in a film." The song got placed in a cable movie without the producer's knowledge! "Junkman" was a sound not heard on FM radio prior to its release, much like MTV's "unplugged" versions of songs, but it is more unplugged than most of this material -- take the rocked-out version of Motown that is the cover of Marvin Gaye's "Stubborn Kinda Girl," or the Springsteen-style blast that is "It's Me," a tune Springsteen should cover. ...And I Mean It is the work of a gifted woman making a rock & roll statement on her terms. The world has yet to realize what a truly polished diamond this album is.
... and I Mean It! Review
by Joe Viglione