Dana Gillespie

Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle

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Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle Review

by Joe Viglione

Dana Gillespie is a prolific artist who deserves more from the recording industry, and Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle is a superb effort from the songstress. Included in the gatefold of the album with the lyrics to her originals are the places and dates for where and when the songs were written. The elegant and passionate "Really Love the Man" was written March 31, 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal. The song is blues in a rock setting, but it is really hard to put a handle on it, Gillespie's vocals smooth as silk, the musicianship equally mellow, and the performance stretching the genres with playful precision. Where David Bowie stepped in on the previous album, Weren't Born a Man, Roxy Music's John Porter takes control here, co-producing with Dana Gillespie and playing guitar on every track. "Hold Me Gently" reminds one of Genya Ravan's They Love Me, They Love Me Not album from around the same time period; the blues edge starts turning into a Delaney & Bonnie-style Southern rock/gospel number. There may be comparisons to Kathi MacDonald and Maggie Bell, but Gillespie puts her own stamp on things, being more of a singer/songwriter than the aforementioned interpreters. "Don't Mind Me" with Big Country's Simon Phillips on drums brings things back to the Bowie world that is the forte of her former management company, Mainman. Dana Gillespie wrote this in Klosters, Switzerland, April 28th, 1970; her performance on 12-string and synthesizer make it a Roxy Music-gone-jazz piece, and it is really exquisite. "No Tail to Wag" is another clever blues composition which the singer wrote in London, July 1, 1973. It has some of the fun from the previous album, and comes from that time period, creeping along with a sultry sax. "Ain't It a Drag, I Got No Tail to Wag" might be the highlight of this disc. "Pack Your Bags" is a product of the West Indies, written December 7th, 1973; it combines funk and a full chorus. Throughout it all, Gillespie is in great voice and is a dominating presence. Jon Hall, author of Janis Joplin's classic "Half Moon," along with his other half, Johanna Hall, provide "Wanderlust." This title sounds like Sheryl Crow with Lou Reed's Sally Can't Dance band backing her up. Gillespie's choice of music is excellent, as are her originals, and from Spain to London, Portugal, the West Indies, and Switzerland, she flavors this album with impressions from her travels. The title track would be great for Etta James, and a duet with Etta and Gillespie on the sexy "Get My Rocks Off" would be a real treat.

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