No one could have predicted that four singer songwriters banding (excuse the expression) together for some shows back in the summer of 1990 would become an amazing 20 year adventure.
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History of the BABES
No one could have predicted that four singer songwriters banding (excuse the expression) together for some shows back in the summer of 1990 would become an amazing 25 year adventure.
Christine Lavin, the original creative force behind The Four Bitchin' Babes®, had an idea. It was February of 1990, and she had just released "On a Winter's Night," a beautiful compilation CD of winter folk songs by singer songwriter pals. The disc became wildly successful and Chris decided to put together a road show.
Women - she chose to tour following summer with "gal pals." She chose Patty Larkin from the Cambridge, MA area, Megon McDonough from Chicago, and Sally Fingerett, from Columbus OH, and off they went. Starting in Chicago, then on to Boulder, Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, and NY, they ended their tour in DC.
By the time they reached DC in August, the girls had arranged and polished fabulous harmonies, shared clothes, laughed more than legally allowed by law, and spent too much cash while shopping on the road.
Then, Chris had another idea. For their last show in DC, why not "make a memory," throw a Digital Audio Tape into a machine, and record their gig at the Birchmere in Alexandria VA. And The Bitchin' Babes® were born that night.
Buy Me, Bring Me, Take Me, Don't Mess My Hair, Life According to Four Bitchin' Babes Vol I was released on the Philo/Rounder label in 1990, and to this day, is still available. As a live recording, it captures the freshness and excitement of four women, four different songwriters, living four different lives, singing of their own individual experiences as female artists.
And individuals they were. Soon after this recording was released, Patty Larkin signed to record for the Windham Hill Label and took off for an international solo tour, bequeathing her "Babe" chair to New Yorker, Julie Gold. Best known for her Grammy-winning tune, From A Distance, Julie settled in for two years of touring as well as joining the Babes® for Buy Me, Bring Me, Take Me, Don't Mess My Hair, Life According to Four Bitchin' Babes® Vol II, Philo/Rounder, 1993.
With so many brilliant women musicians in their national community, finding someone to substitute for a Babe, either on maternity leave, or ill was not terribly difficult. With guests like Cheryl Wheeler, Janis Ian, and Mary Travers, there would be new songs, new stories, and of course, new clothes and shoes to borrow.
It was the winter of 1993, when DC area songstress Debi Smith boarded a flight with 24 hours notice to sub for the flu stricken Christine Lavin. Without any rehearsal, Debi joined the Babes® on stage, earning her "eyelashes." (Babe version of wings) And so, in February of 1994, when Julie Gold's publisher needed her to be in NY full time, it was a perfect match to invite Debi Smith to become the next permanent Babe.
Of course with a new Babe comes a new recording! Those are the rules! Produced by Dan Green (Sally Fingerett's then husband) Fax It, Charge It, Don't Ask Me What's For Dinner: More Life According To Four Bitchin' Babes®, was released on the Shanachie label in 1995.
By 1997, founding member Christine Lavin was busy with her own show on NY's WFUV Radio, and had plans to tour a solo theater piece. Retiring from the group, Chris recommended Camille West, a "galvanizing" comedic songwriter she had seen at Cafe Lena's, in upstate NY and "just knew she'd be a perfect fit.”
With new member Camille, they once again took to the Birchmere stage to record. With an enormous big boy 24 track-mobile-recording studio-parked outside the club, Gabby Road -Out Of The Mouths Of Babes® (Shanachie 1997) would come to life as the fourth group CD in seven years.
Sally Fingerett, Debi Smith, Megon McDonough, and Camille West would continue to traverse the US and Canada, performing together, stopping only in 2000 to make yet another recording. The Babes® – Beyond Bitchin' produced by Jeff Bova (Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Madonna). On the heels of this first class recording experience, the girls filmed an evening at The Southern Theater in Columbus Ohio, producing a wonderful full-length concert Meet the Babes® DVD Shanachie 2001.
In 2001, original member Megon McDonough would leave the group to cultivate and tour her one-woman cabaret show "An Interesting Bunch of Gals." To assist the Babes® with yet another evolution, legendary New York singer/songwriter Suzzy Roche (of the Roches) would join the girls adding a quirky lovable urban edge.
The Babes® just kept picking up steam, performing for packed houses in theaters and clubs.
Once again, it was time to make a record, so the girls thought they would try something completely different. For Some Assembly Required, Shanachie 2002, each babe chose to record three songs in the studio of her choice, gathering for a Babe Recording Slumber Party in Nashville to lay down their signature harmonies as a group – and viola! - assembly accomplished.
By 2005, after four years of touring in this configuration, the Babes® had shared so many wonderful concert halls, missed flights, back stage laughs, beautiful hotels, and questionable rental cars. Now it was time for the Babes® to CHANGE AGAIN! Camille West chose to pursue her solo career and Suzzy Roche would accept a role with New York's Wooster Group.
This time the Babes' evolution would also be a REVELATION!
With their new gal pals, Comedian Deirdre Flint (from Philadelphia) and studio vocalist Nancy Moran (from Nashville) by their side, longstanding members Sally Fingerett and Debi Smith took the steam from their hot flashes and cooked up a whole new concept for this "Fabulous Female Folkestra.”
The Babes® vowed to age gracefully, but they would not go quietly! And from this dedication to writing, touring, recording, and traveling with gal pals, came
"HORMONAL IMBALANCE…A Mood Swinging Musical Revue"
From the theatres across the US and Canada, this show proved to be wildly successful, as women of all ages joined with their book clubs, bowling leagues, college reunion events to attend The Babes® estrogen fueled show, for a "HOT" night of music and laughs with a new cast, new tunes, new hair, and of course a new ATTITUDE!
And in 2009, again they evolve and CHANGE, as women are prone to do. They change their minds, their hair, their men, their jobs, their clothes, and so now Sally, Debi, Deirdre and Nancy, change their songs as they release their newest CD "DIVA NATION...Where Music Laughter and Girlfriends Reign."
Beginning with their first show in 2005, Sally, Debi, Nancy and Deirdre had mastered the art and coalescence of a well oiled machine, touring almost non-stop from September to June, on the National Performing Arts Circuit. Songs were their business and business was good!
It's in 2011, as the Babes’ get to planning a new CD and stage revue, Babe Pal Nancy Moran makes the difficult decision to say goodbye to join her husband Fett in their Nashville TN recording studio/music business consulting company. But she’s right there in the wings, as she’s committed to being the first stringer, should a Babe become ill and not be able to perform her duties!
NEW SHOW – NEW CD – NEW BABE FOR 2012
Yep, who knew that they’d have it in them! But they do, and frankly they can’t believe it either.
Re-invention becomes the Babe Mantra as long standing members, Sally Fingerett, Debi Smith, and Deirdre Flint welcomed brand new Babe, multi-Grammy Award winning instrumentalist, Marcy Marxer. Armed with Marcy’s virtuosity on guitar, mandolin, ukulele, and penny whistle along with her crystal pristine voice, the Babes put together not 1 but 2 new shows!
“Jingle Babes…Decking the Halls With Songs and Folly” is a spirited evening of ‘shared musical traditions,’ with clever comedy, songs, shtick and stories of that crazy making time of year. This is a seasonal show that will play from Thanksgiving to Christmas, then goes on hiatus till next year! Just like a tree and Menorah!
AND!!! . . . .
Mid Life Vices…A Guilt Free Musical Revue - THE BABES 9TH RECORDING!
This show hits both stage and radio to lovingly examine our collective Mid Life Crises and our inherent need for Mid Life Vices!! With songs that wink at our neurosis, passions and misdeeds, once again the Babes take a stab at exhausted perfectionists, organized scatterbrains, boys and their wheels, and of course a universal passion for low lights, Facebook, and CHEESE! The girls hit the highway, packed with their calcium pills to revel in the attitude of “been-there-saw-that-ate-that-drank-that-came-back-to kick-back-and-lay-back!” with their songs and stories finding self acceptance, grace and humor, in this celebration of “Whine, Women, and Song!”
And now, for the 2015-2016 season, the Babes are pleased to announce . . .
HORMONAL IMBALANCE v2.5, A Mood Swinging Musical Revue-Then Estrogen Fueled Fun Continues!
Sally Fingerett, Debi Smith and Deirdre Flint, along with revolving 4th chair babes, Nancy Moran, and inaugural member, Megon McDonough, have chosen to honor the hits and highlights from 25 years of escapades on stage. With songs that lovingly celebrate the lives of both men and women, the Babes remain steadfast and true to the feminine viewfinder with songs like: “Bald Headed Men,” “My Kinda Man,” “Take Me Out To Eat,” “I Remember Butter,” “L.A.F.F (Ladies Against Fanny Floss)” & “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” With depth and warmth they offer moving pieces such as the multi-generational “Pass It On” “Home Is Where The Heart Is” and “Unconditional Love.”
Join them for an evening of great fun, amazing music, and full force laughter as these gal pals celebrate being the venerable “original girls night out” tour-de-force musical comedy theatre hit that started it all.
Come HEAR the wonderful history of THE FOUR BITCHIN’ BABES!