Reviewed by Kent H. Benjamin, Fri., Dec. 6, 2002
FannyFirst Time in a Long Time -- The Reprise Recordings (Rhino Handmade) Fanny has all but fallen out of the popular consciousness, and that's a terrific shame. They were the first all-female rock band who played their own instruments. Signed to Reprise from 1969 to 1973, the quartet (each of whom sang and wrote songs) made four albums, three produced by hitmeister Richard Perry and the last by Todd Rundgren. None have ever been available on CD. Now Rhino Handmade (www.rhinohandmade.com) has released all four albums, along with all their demo recordings, non-LP singles, outtakes, and live material, in a classy, limited-edition 4-CD box set with outstanding graphic design, interviews with the band, and testimonials including a rave by David Bowie. Every female group since has been heavily influenced by Fanny -- the Runaways, the Go-Go's, the Bangles, Hole, Sleater-Kinney -- but the thing is, the music actually stands up after all these years. These ladies could rock with the best of the guys. Some of the covers, "Nowhere to Run," "Badge," "Hey Bulldog," "Special Care," are terrific, fresh versions. And the original material, like hit single "Charity Ball," "Cat Fever," and "All Mine," are simply as good as anything around in the early Seventies. While a box set is probably more than most will want, it has been a revelation listening to these albums again after several decades. Hopefully an economical single disc will follow, so Fanny can reach the audience their music and history so richly deserves.