|'Fire And Ice'||
It's been a busy year and we're finally back to putting out download releases of great albums you may never hear of otherwise. This week we're focusing on a title that has hidden in the bins quite successfully amongst thousands of undistinguished and forgotten New England folk / SSW (singer-songwriter) records for more than 30 years -- Hometown Lady by Pat Wells. Like so many discoveries from Yoga Records, the packaging on this one is banal, misleading, and generally horrible -- making it perfect for download issue.
Pat Wells wasn't looking for a career. There was this rich guy with Sail Records, a vanity label he started in 1976 to put out his mediocre, self-titled SSW album. He decided he wanted to keep the label going and prove it to be more than a vanity deal, started looking for talent, and quickly found Wells. He gave her a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with Boston's best session players, and in return got a polished, worthwhile addition to the Sail Records catalog, another record that went absolutely nowhere. (There would be one more release on Sail, and that too went nowhere.)
Wells' subtly-incorrect, lazy-seeming, discretely sexy vocals contrast with the polished, often jazzy backing. Her unabashedly sentimental, nostalgic sentiments about New England conjure images that will be immediately clear to anyone who's ever lived there. The boilerplate SSW album title is actually specific; Wells said it's about "nature, my small town background, the seasons, different people I have known." Similar to Jeff Eubank, Wells has an uncanny way of capturing something that takes a moment of reordering your relationship with the music's superficially cheesy aspects, and which you will not retreat from once you get it. If you don't get it, your loss -- have fun on the internet or whatever.
Other Music says: "Yoga Records impeccable reissue series continues with “Hometown Lady," a set of songs by obscure ‘70s folk crooner Pat Wells. Equipped with a beautifully smooth voice and a slew of skilled backing musicians, Wells lays down track after lushly orchestrated track of simple, sweet, nostalgic folk songs, capturing a sound that is, above all else, pure."