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First Time In A Long Time: The Reprise Recordings

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Album Review

It's amazing that this four-CD box set exists in the first place, considering not only that Fanny never had a Top 100 album, but that they've never had a particularly big cult following either. But here it is, albeit in a limited edition of 5,000 (sold in North America only). And all the stops were certainly pulled to assemble material, including not only all four of their early-'70s Reprise albums, but dozens of extras, many of them unreleased. Non-LP singles, single-only versions, home and studio demos (the earliest of them dating from July 1969, when they were still known as Wild Honey), alternate versions, outtakes: they're all here. Plus there's more: the tracks on the Canadian version of their debut album (which included three alternate versions never released elsewhere, as well as some cuts that only came out in the U.S. as non-LP singles) that didn't make it onto the U.S. configuration; seven songs from an April 1973 Philadelphia concert; four tracks from a live April 1972 Cleveland performance; six cuts from a demo session for the Mother's Pride album; even four Reprise radio commercials. Not to mention a 52-page booklet with extensive interview quotes from June Millington, Jean Millington, and Alice de Buhr. By definition any serious fan of any act is going to be pleased with such thoroughness. But all the bells and whistles don't act as convincing evidence that Fanny were any more than an ordinary, at times mundane, early-'70s rock band, leaving aside their pioneering status as an all-woman group on a major label that played their own instruments and wrote most of their material. The loads of non-LP and unreleased material aren't all that different than from what ended up on the four proper albums, though sometimes they show a more explicitly soul direction, as on the cover of Maxine Brown's "One Step at a Time" and the unreleased take of the Supremes' "Back in My Arms Again." The live recordings do prove that the band could rock convincingly and tightly on stage, and the fidelity on those is decent, though on the Cleveland cuts in particular it probably wouldn't have been judged up to release standard. Some of the demos are a mite folkier and more singer/songwriter-oriented than the albums, though that might be due more to the more basic arrangements than the material. Note that this doesn't include absolutely everything Fanny did; there's nothing from their post-Reprise album for Casablanca, and an archival live album of 1972 stuff done in Cleveland contains music not on this box.

Customer Reviews

Excellent Collection of rock history

Fanny was making ground-breaking music way ahead of its time. Charity Ball being their only top 40 single, Fanny had a huge UK following and a strong fan base here in the USA. But the times (1970 to 1973) were not right for an all-woman rock band to be taken seriously. Seen more as a novelty, they were never given a chance to prove themselves like their male counterparts of the time. Fanny could rock with the best of them, and played a wide variety of sounds. This is an excellent set, and worth the price. The corny, sexist promos from Reprise shows the attitude toward them. I am a long-time fan that still remembers being 15 years old and hearing them for the first time on the radio. Discover them again!

A Trailblazing Band Gets Their Due

Fanny’s albums languished in out-of print obscurity for decades, and the physical 4-CD set of this title came out in a limited edition of only 5000… so huzzah to iTunes for making this music readily available in the marketplace! Fanny were a groundbreaking band in that they were an all-woman group who played and wrote their own material. The music itself isn’t especially innovative, but all the same it’s engaging, well-played ’70s FM rock. If one likes AOR there’s plenty of it here - that it’s made by all women does not define it… though having it sung in all female voices does make a refreshing difference. (And perhaps some of the softer songs would seem mawkish if sung by men.) This is a collector’s set, so a beginner might care to research which tracks made up Fanny’s first 4 albums and start from there. (The “Fanny Hill” album is particularly well-regarded.) Fanny’s recognition is long overdue. These trailblazing women were rocking their original songs to appreciative audiences years before many of today’s female rockers were even born.

Great Collection

For over three decades, one of my favorite vinyl records has been the 1972 album Fanny Hill by Fanny. Play the eleven songs in this collection from Ain't That Peculiar (LP Version) to The First Time (Album Version) and you will hear that great album. But there is more in this collection. Charity Ball (in its many versions), Seven Roads, I’ll Never be the Same, and Beside Myself are especially worthwhile. By the end of this collection, the sound has some Dixie Chick-like country flavor in addition to Rock. I have been a lover of great female music for a long time (Grace Slick, Genya Ravan, Tori Amos, Hilary Hahn, Joss Stone, Liz Phair…). One of the female groups that I was fortunate to find early on was Fanny. Finally, a big "thank you" to whoever brought this collection to iTunes.

Biography

Formed: 1970 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s

Upon signing hard rock combo Fanny in 1970, Warner Bros. claimed their new acquisition was the first all-female rock band -- a statement far from the truth, of course, but as one of the first self-contained female groups to land on a major label, they were an important harbinger of things to come. Fanny formed in California under the name Wild Honey, teaming singer/guitarist June Millington, her bassist sister Jean, keyboardist Nickey Barclay, and drummer Alice de Buhr. (The Millingtons and de Buhr...
Full Bio
First Time In a Long Time: The Reprise Recordings, Fanny
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