Sandy's Album Is Here At Last

Sandy Hurvitz

Collector's Choice Music, 2010

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Let’s face it – anyone who recorded for Frank Zappa’s Bizarre label during the late ‘60s had to be a tad different than the norm.

Sandy Hurvitz began her career at the age of sixteen years old when she released a single for the old Liberty label. By the time she was nineteen, she was playing keyboards for Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention. Zappa signed her to a solo recording contract for his personal label and decided to produce the record himself. He quickly clashed with the nineteen year old, however, and so turned producing chores over to bandmate Ian Underwood. What emerged was a stark and bare-bones affair that focused upon her voice, piano playing, and songwriting ability.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

If there is one thing which has been consistent throughout Hurvitz’s forty-five year career, it has been her ability to create a song. Even at a young age, she wrote material for such artists as The Shangri-Las and Vanilla Fudge. But her songs would have been better served here if the sound had been developed a bit more. The tracks that add in even one other instrument benefit a great deal from such fleshing out.

Sandy’s Album Is Here At Last may have an unfinished feel, but it does introduce her as a performer of note. Her voice is mature and serves her lyrics well. Her piano playing provides a solid foundation and at times seems almost to run counterpoint to her vocals, which does work well in this case.

Cuts such as “Three Hawks,” “Tree Of Trees,” “I Know The Sun,” and “Archgodliness Of Purplefull Magic” may come across as harsh, but they are always interesting. For Hurvitz, at least on this debut album, it is all about the voice and lyrics.

She later changed her professional name from Sandy Hurvitz to Essra Mohawk, which is a combination of a nickname and her married name. Her second release, Primordial Lovers, issued in 1970, is one of the great, lost albums of that decade.

Sandy’s Album Is Here At Last was a commercial failure and quickly faded from the scene. As such, it is nice to have it available again in a clean remastered form. The disc includes as a bonus track the long-lost “Life Is Scarlet,” the lyrics of which were printed on the back of the original album despite the song not actually being included.

This release may not be in the mainstream, but it is a challenging and ultimately an interesting listen for anyone willing to make the leap of faith.

Rating: B

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