Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman played a cruical role in Prince's
Revolution.To the public,they're probably known for the parts in
"Purple Rain" and in the raunchy intro to "Computer Blue".After Prince fired all of his band in 1986,Wendy & Lisa landed back on
their feet with a deal on Columbia and released their debut in 1987.Truth be told,the ladies sound just fine without Jamie Starr.
"Wendy & Lisa" is a very adventrous,stylistically diverse late
'80s dance/pop album.Wendy's strong,soulful voice is highlighted
in ways that it couldn't have been during her Prince days.Lisa's
keyboard prowess is now actually in the forefront.Bobby Z,W&L's
bandmate from The Revolution,had a big hand in the production so
of course "Wendy & Lisa" has a semi-strong Prince feel.
Funky,taut workouts like "Honeymoon Express","Sideshow",and
"Light" have grooves that actually move and the lush instrumental "White" are all impressive.As well as the effective ballad "Stay" but I have one big question:WHY IN THE WORLD WASN'T A HIT???? That's right,this set's intial single stalled at #87 on the Billboard singles chart even though it was loaded with a nice beat,a great hook,and a strong Prince feel.Hey...maybe "Christopher Tracey" himself had something to do with such a surefire hit stalling(LOL)...Makes you wonder.
Anyway,I can't fail to mention the misty "Song About" with it's
sly references to Prince("No one stayed after the Parade":get it?).
Overall "Wendy & Lisa" is actually an underrated,well-produced
album that quietly paved some way for Sheryl Crow(whom W&L's
former boss sang with on his "Rave Un2 The Joy Fantasik" album)
and other soulful,pop/rock/soul female artists.'80s music that
still holds up very well.
Wendy and Lisa seemed to be possibly the most talented in former
Prince understudies(Shelia E comes close though).The two women
would release two more albums,1989's "Fruit At The Bottom" and
1992's "Eroica",both of which pushed the musical envelope even
more.Sadly both of those albums are out of print in the US and
both barely if ever charted over here as well.W&L released the
powerful "Girls Bros." project in 1998,a soaring,somber musical
grievance over the death of Jonathan Melovin,drummer for the
Smashing Pumpkins(he also played drums on Prince's "Do U Lie?"
from "Parade").They also have went on to play behind Me'Shell
N'Degeocello,Seal,Joni Mitchell,and BB King & Eric Clapton(yup,
that's them on "Riding With The King"),among others.And they've
scored the music for such feature films as "Dangerous Minds",
"Soul Food",and "Juwanna Mann".
Wendy and Lisa have truly stood the test of time.Somewhere,
Mr. Nelson is shedding purple tears seeing how well his musical
babies grew up.