Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Cash Box Chart Scrapers: Scarlet Rivera (1977)

Sixth in a series.  To be considered a "chart scraper" album, an artist must have had only one album make the Cash Box 200 album chart* during the years 1976-85.  Said album spent no more than two weeks on the chart, placing no higher than 196.  They're all new to me.

Scarlet Rivera
Released: 1977 (Warner Bros.)
Produced by: Jimmy Wisner

Side One Side Two
Wicked Witch of the East
Gypsy Caravan
Earth Queen
Cloak and Dagger
Ring Around the Moon

June 25, 1977197
July 2, 1977196

click photos to enlarge

Robert Christgau, Village Voice

Those who call this the worst record of the year (I've met two) must only listen to sidepeople's albums when the sidepeople are Dylan's (or "his," as the notes here would have it.) In fact, many sidepeople stretch out one or two acceptable melodies and some should-be rejects into an instrumental LP. Although come to think of it most of them come up with eight cuts, not six. And most of them can improvise some. Hmm. D-

Other review links:

I'm fairly certain that this album would never have been recorded if Rivera hadn't been in Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review.  Legend has it that Dylan found Rivera crossing the street in Greenwich Village, a story she confirms. I imagine he picked her up looking to get laid, but yada yada yada and here's a solo album.

You know you're in trouble when the credits include "Witch's laugh is by the Witch."

This is some sort of prog rock/jazz/gypsy/world music fusion focusing on Rivera's overdubbed violin playing. The performances and production are good, but there's no real material to speak of.  It's as if a group of wasted, ADD musicians just showed up at the studio and recorded their freeform jam sessions (which might not be far from the truth for all I know).  Some of it is downright comical at times: when vocals come in, for instance, or when "Gypsy Caravan" ends about 5 times before picking up again as if someone yelled, "Second verse, same as the first!"

If I were to do a Chart Scraper series based on the Billboard album charts (and don't think I won't!), this album wouldn't make the cut. It "bubbled under" the chart for three weeks, peaking at 206.

Stick with Jean-Luc Ponty or Noel Pointer.

Official website

*Cash Box chart information was taken from the book The Cash Box Album Charts, 1976-1985 (Scarecrow Press, 1987)

1 comment :

  1. While I've at least sampled your previous Chart Scrapers out of curiosity ("Can it really be that bad?") there is no doubt in my mind that listening to this one would be a waste of my time. Any curiosity has been wiped away by the ample amount of info you have provided. Thanks for the warning.