Genya Ravan: Junkman (1979)

 |   |  1 min read

Genya Ravan: Junkman (1979)

By the time New York singer Ravan got to her album And I Mean It, from which this track is taken, she'd already had a few careers: she'd been the singer in the Escorts in the early Sixties (the line-up included soon-to-be-producer Richard Perry); she was Goldie of Goldie and The Gingerbreads who scored a top 10 UK single with Can't You Hear My Heartbeat (produced by Alan Price of the Animals) then she fronted the horn-driven Ten Wheel Drive.

So her photo file has pictures of her with Mick Jagger and the Hollies, relaxing backstage with Jimi Hendrix, and sharing a bus with the Yardbirds while touring the UK.

Oh, and she not only produced her first solo album Urban Desire ('78, on which she sang a duet with Lou Reed) but albums by the Dead Boys and Ronnie Spector.

genya2_1Ravan -- born Genyusha Zelkowitz -- could belt out hard edged soul, the blues and rock'n'roll. She was something of a one-woman girl group.

By the late Seventies however she was taking on darker, sexually stroppy music and brought a bratty post-punk attitude to her brand of rock which was steeped in tradition. Charles M Young in Rolling Stone reviewing Urban Desire noted she "sings blacker than any white female I can think of".

So on And I Mean It you got the spirit of Ronnie Spector on the big ballad Steve, but pure rock'n'roll on Pedal to the Metal. And the sex and stroppiness is there on I Won't Sleep on the Wet Spot No More. 

genya3But for Junkman she gets into rock ballad mode with Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople.

And the lady can sing.

She means it.

Looking back Genya Ravan was one of the better "street poets" at a time when the media was acclaiming Jim Carroll, Willy de Ville and of course the usual suspects (Lou and Patti).

These days she doesn't sing and produce so much, but has been a regular presenter of Steve Van Zandt's radio show Underground Garage.

At 81, Genya Ravan proves you are never to old to . . . if not rock'n'roll, then at least still love it. 

For more one-offs, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Ivor Cutler: Life in a Scotch Sitting Room and Go And Sit Upon the Grass (1975)

Ivor Cutler: Life in a Scotch Sitting Room and Go And Sit Upon the Grass (1975)

The Scottish poet and comedian Ivor Cutler (1923 - 2006) barely scraped the surface of wide public acclaim outside of the UK, and even there he was a minority figure. But he did appear in the... > Read more

John Hiatt: She Loves the Jerk (1983)

John Hiatt: She Loves the Jerk (1983)

Songs of spousal abuse or domestic violence are never going to be pretty or common, in fact on a countback the most outstanding one prior to this by Hiatt was probably the gloomy and dark He Hit Me... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SLEEPING WITH GHOSTS by DON MCcCULLIN: War -- and something approaching peace

SLEEPING WITH GHOSTS by DON MCcCULLIN: War -- and something approaching peace

In one of those excellent but buried television programmes, various photographers who were in the Vietnam killing zones told of the stories behind some of those images imprinted on the... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: David Long

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: David Long

Those who have followed the by-ways of David Long's busy life might wonder why this award-winning producer, composer and guitarist-without-portfolio – who was a founder member of the... > Read more