Judi Pulver

Pulver Rising

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Touring with Mott the Hoople in the spring of 1974, Judi Pulver mesmerized U.K. audiences with a short but undeniably punchy set, drawn in its entirety from this, her first (and, apparently, only) major-label album. Formerly a writer for the Cowsills (among others), the American singer/songwriter's career had already been irreversibly hamstrung at home by a misguidedly ambitious, $100,000 promotional campaign (Charles Schulz advertising, a rented Boeing 720 to fly journalists to her San Francisco opening, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the works). The Mott tour was Pulver's chance to start all over again. The key track on Pulver Rising was side two's opener, "Dancing on the Moon," a spiraling slice of rocking seduction armed with a positively lethal chorus. As a single, it should have catapulted both Pulver and her album high into the public awareness but, when it was overlooked by all but the Mott crowd, the whole project was more or less written off. It's a shame. Pulver Rising (great title!) could be compared to a street-smart Maria Muldaur with its sultry rhythms and Pulver's irresistibly smoky vocals. Titles like "The Trouble with Cabbages" and "Fish-Eye Blues" fascinate, too, all the more so since the songs do live up to the off-kilter imagery of their names. Plus, there's a great band at work here, led by Waddy Wachtel, and rounded up by John Guerin, Carol Fleming and John d'Andrea. But sometimes, it doesn't matter how good everything is, or how exquisitely it all comes together. Pulver Rising was pulverized, and one of the most promising singer/songwriters of the early '70s apparently stopped singing shortly after. Her songs, however, live on.

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