Various Artists

Music for the Cure: It's About Eve

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Joan Jett opens the Music for the Cure: It's About Eve compilation with a terrific rendition of the Beatles' "The Word." Density, drive, and experimental sounds lift this all-girl version (27 backing vocalists!) to a special place. This one song is worth the price of admission, but there's a lot more on the other 13 tracks. Deena Miller, daughter of Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller, is part of the chorus/choir on "The Word" and follows that tune with the title track from her long-awaited debut CD, A Thousand Words. Australian Liz Larizza's Wellville band has tunes that are often heard on prime-time TV. "How Does It Feel" is a cosmic elegant melody stretched over the band's firm rhythm. There's so much to this anthology that it simply cannot be absorbed in one sitting, but the 12-page booklet/liner notes go far in explaining a bit about each act, and the mission of this project. Executive producer Hernando Courtright has had years in A&R as well as management, and owns some of the better "ears" in this industry. The song selection is top-notch, heightening breast cancer awareness while simultaneously celebrating "the many female artists who are enthusiastically promoting their music with the release of their own CDs." Heidi Petrikat's title track to her disc, Desperate Lord, seems like a frustrated plea to an unfelt (or perhaps unfeeling) deity, a kind of questioning that goes with the attempt to eradicate a disruptive disease. Lava Baby's "If I Did Not Have You" is a bit harder rocking than the track that precedes it, but there is no problem with the flow on the album. The production team achieved a balance that makes for almost an hour's worth of music that is strong from start to finish. Andrea Maybaum, Sister Someone, Nancy Magarill, Julia Greenberg, Emily Curtis, and Elisa Peimer are hardly household names, but each song here is very special and worthy of radio play. The performances all make for a good discovery system, and it is that sense of exploration, aided by the photos and liner notes, that gives this impressive project the edge over other compilations. The 1970s and early '80s were not easy times for female rockers, and Jett leading this pack is almost the passing of the torch. Folksinger Debra Davis (not to be confused with blues singer Debbie Davies or actress Debbie Davis) gives a glimpse of her artistry with the percussive/acoustic "Angels in the Attic" from her CD of the same name. It has lots to offer, her voice clear and in command over the intriguing production work. Edie Carey and Ina May Wool have higher profiles than many of the artists here, and they round out this commendable package that deserves support. All of the net proceeds are "going to charities that benefit research and outreach programs."

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