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Suzzy Roche

Why The Long Face

Suzzy & Maggie Roche

       Much to my dismay, Bob Feldman (esteemed president of Red House Records) asked me to write a few words about our new cd.  I usually like to let the music speak for itself and I think it does.  But Bob is a great guy, so I agreed to take a stab at it.

       If I had to say what the theme of this recording is I guess it would be the ever thinning line between opposites:  comedy & tragedy, hope & despair, the political & the personal, the truth & the lie, success & failure, the simple & complex - just to name a few.

        About the other authors on the cd:      

       I Don’t Have You was written by Mark Johnson, an old friend and great songwriter.  This song reminds me of a how lonely a city can be when you’ve lost someone you love. 

       La Vie C’est La Vie is a poem by Jessie Fauset who was a literary editor for The Crisis as well as a poet and teacher.  She was very influential during the Harlem Renaissance, encouraging young writers like Langston Hughes.  Apparently she was very polite and reserved.  I think this is one of the saddest poems I’ve ever read.  It’s published in a book called Caroling Dusk: An Anthology of Negro Poets which our father pointed out to us.  

       For Those Whose Work Is Invisible was written by Mary Gordon, the acclaimed novelist.  I met her at a party and she told me about a series of prayers she had written that were published in the Paris Review.  From our work on Zero Church I was very interested in prayers and asked her if we could take a crack at making  songs out of some of them.  Maggie chose the one called For Those Who Gave Up Everything for Sexual Love, which we hope to record someday, too.  These are unusual prayers, full of compassion and exquisitely written by Mary.

      Training Wheels is by Jon Turner, a young man I met at a Summer Camp for teenagers a few years ago.  I was asked to create a band with about eight kids.  As I recall, one of the singers was nearly deaf but had a passionate desire to sing, and three of the boys had Asperger’s Syndrome, all three very gifted pianists.  It was quite a band!  They performed a song called Something To Believe In.  Anyway, I heard Jon read his poem at that camp and I loved the language.  I worked on this song for two years before I was happy with it.  In working on it, my appreciation for the depth of it grew.  It seems simple, but it’s very complex, like a prism. As it turns out, I read in Bill Clinton’s book that as a kid he was teased for riding a bike with training wheels too.

       A Day In The Life Of A Tree is from the Beach Boy’s Surf ‘s Up recording.  I love the idea of a tree speaking.  For us, this track is also a thank you to Brian Wilson for all the great songs.  I hope somebody plays it for him!

       The other songs were written by us and I’ll let them speak for themselves, except for The Warwick Flog,  which grew out of a workshop we gave with our friend Bill Bowers.  The workshop was mostly a series of exercises based on dreams and silent communication.  There were about twenty great women who participated and it culminated in the writing of a group prayer.  This song was inspired by that experience and hopefully we captured some of the spirit of that afternoon.

       The songs written by Maggie & I are:  Broken Places, Who Cares, Don’t Be Afraid, One Season  & The Long Lonely Road To Nowhere

       Thanks for taking the time to listen to our cd!  Much care and love was poured into it.  I hope that comes through.

    - Suzzy Roche



Click here to see a Washington Times Review of Why the Long Face


Why The Long Face

Suzzy & Maggie Roche

Produced by Stewart Lerman & Suzzy Roche

Musicians:

Maggie, Suzzy, Stewart Lerman, David Mansfield, David Amram,
Paul Ossola, Marlon Cherry, Paul Socolow, Paulo Braga, Dorothy Lawson

Cover Art:  Janie Geiser       Design by Merideth Harte


Photo by: Dave Hall