Helen Henderson: London (Ranui/Aeroplane)

 |   |  1 min read

Helen Henderson: River
Helen Henderson: London (Ranui/Aeroplane)

The name of this expat might not be familiar but six years ago Elsewhere wrote favourably about her second album Twisting Wind which we said was a collection “tough, earthy blues rock/alt.country” (and had some stellar guests).

A longtime LA resident, she has an interesting backstory which is worth retelling because it places these songs into the context of her life.

Henderson left the South Island to arrive in London in the late Seventies where she signed to Ensign (Sinead O'Connor, Waterboys, Boomtown Rats) and recorded a bunch of originals which attracted the attention of uber-mogul David Geffen who was establishing his Geffen Records label in LA (early signings were John Lennon, Donna Summer and Elton John).

Summoned to LA where she was signed, she seemed to get lost in the shuffle when Lennon was shot within a month of her arrival and Geffen had other things on his mind.

She remained in LA where she would eventually record her debut The Sonora Sessions and then Twisting Wind.

The songs on this new album however – as the title suggests – date from her London days.

In a few places (notably the Eighties rock of Children of the Night) many sound a bit of-their-era and not too far from Sharon O'Neill's style of late Seventies pop-rock (Anyone's Baby, Chameleon Woman).

Once again she has Doug Pettibone on guitar who brings some real sting and soaring Cali-rock to proceedings, and there's no denying Henderson writes classy, instantly familiar pop-rock which would have appeal at mainstream adult radio (the late evening piano ballad Love on Love, .

Broody songs like the alt.country flavoured River and Listen to the Wind (the former with a strong Christine McVie-like soulful quality) count among the better of the 10 tracks.

The second half opens with piano-based songs and if Geffen had heard Love is Surrender or Chameleon Woman you can hear why Henderson would have been so appealing: She could easily have been directed at post-Fleetwood Mac AOR-FM radio in the US.

So, an album re-channelling the past with a more contemporary twist from the LA players which will have most appeal for those whose tastes were formed by AOR rock radio of the late Seventies to mid Eighties.

Helen Henderson launches this album at One2One Cafe, 121 Ponsonby Rd, Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday July 9

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

One Man Bannister: Birds & Bees (Thokei Tapes/bandcamp)

One Man Bannister: Birds & Bees (Thokei Tapes/bandcamp)

Releasing an album on cassette in an age when most people no longer have a turntable let alone something as archaic as a tape player seems a bit like that Spinal Tap thing: Being more selective... > Read more

THE BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2012: READERS' CHOICES

THE BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2012: READERS' CHOICES

That time of year again folks when Elsewhere invites you to name one or two – or three or four -- albums which shook your tree during 2012. Elsewhere tried to keep up with the game and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER CHRIS BOURKE on a moving doco about an influential recording studio

GUEST WRITER CHRIS BOURKE on a moving doco about an influential recording studio

In 1967 Aretha Franklin went from the sophisticated studios of New York to a backwater in Alabama and finally had the hit that made her career: I Never Loved a Man. Arriving at the studio,... > Read more

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

Mauro Durante of the southern Italian band of the Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino laughs about the problem the group has, but also how they rise above it. “Many of our songs are written... > Read more