Kathy Fire – Songs Of Fire
This record will catch you off your guard. Put up your usual bias against radical feminist records, flex your hatred of 3rd-wave feminism, despise your own insecurity about all things political, and you will do what most people do when they see this record: laugh and put it back. Certainly when I read about this record I thought it’s only appeal would be either in its absurdity or possible political uniqueness (I like left-wing related records). I was certain my assumptions were correct until I hit the third track, Goodnight Children, and for the rest of the album I was dumbfounded.
This record is deeply intimate in a way only Folkways can provide. Kathy recorded this entire album in one take. She was never trained. She makes mistakes. She sings off key. But she is so passionate about her music that these mistakes are washed away with all your previous bias’. Yes, there are a few angry solo guitar songs, but there are plenty of really mellow acoustic songs with flute accompaniment that make up for this possible pitfall. It’s really the flute that caught me off guard. It mellows out the album and takes the edge off Kathy’s anger, making her music a lot more palatable if you can’t identify with the subject matter.
Of historical interest is a song she dedicates to the Weathermen, a group of anarchists active in the United States in the 70s. There was a recent documentary about them titled The Weather Underground. There is a great history of Kathy Fire at the Queer Music Heritage website.
Listen: Kathy Fire – Goodnight Children