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Urban Desire Limited Edition


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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 April 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Import Music Services
  • ASIN: B000BQB6L0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 526,569 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John McCartney, Amazon Customer on 18 Jan 2011
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
If you're as ancient as me you may remember a 1965 hit single called "Can't You Hear My Heart Beat" by Goldie and the Gingerbreads. Goldie was Goldie Zelkowitz who later changed her name to Genya Ravan (as you do) and joined the amazing funk-jazz group "Ten Wheel Drive" as vocalist.

"Urban Desire" is her best solo album after she split from that group. It's the epitome of seventies urban funk/punk. Even Lou Reed guests on one track. If you like Springsteen or Little Steven, or almost any of the "Jersey Sound" artists, then I'm pretty sure you'll love this.
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By J. Ferguson on 11 Feb 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first bought Urban Desire when it was released in 1978. A decade later, I hunted all over and could not find it. With the Internet, I was able to search, but found little until the limited edition CD release. I keep a lookout now for LIKE NEW LPs as well as new copies of the CD. So you can tell how I feel about Urban Desire (Be aware that the condition of most used vinyl and CDs are greatly overrated by sellers.).

I have listened to music from the days of Burl Ives and Tennessee Ernie Ford to Led Zeppelin & Ten Years After to the Alabama Shakes and Sara Niemietz (very underrated). For me, Urban Desire is one of the best albums ever produced (Genya Ravan was also the producer). Urban Desire changed music for me just like hearing Led Zeppelin for the first time. Check out some of my favorite tracks on YouTube: Jerry's Pigeons, The Sweetest One, and Shadow Boxing. Even if you don't agree that this LP is one of the greatest, I'll think you'll agree that it's great.

I've always objected to the hyperbole of fan reviews. Now, I find myself on the other side of the coin.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Venerable 60's and 70's Rock Goddess 9 Mar 2008
By Mike B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Though she had considerable success, Genya Ravan is probably remembered more by music historians than by the general public. She's famous for fronting the first all-girl rock band (Goldie and The Gingerbreads), and as singer for the jazz/rock ensemble Ten Wheel Drive. Both were groundbreaking acts, and their influence reverberates to this day.

Originally known as Goldie Zelkowitz, she'd been raised in Poland until the age of nine, at which point her family emigrated to Manhattan's Lower East Side. She was very young when she became the singer with a band called The Escorts with Goldie in 1961. In 1962 they put out their first single, and into 1963 they released a few more. They even had a regional hit (in the midwest) with their version of "Somewhere" from "West Side Story". Needless to say, this wasn't the kind of material that would put her on the map.

That would happen in 1964 with the formation of Goldie and The Gingerbreads. They weren't a novelty act. Nor were they like the Supremes or other "girl groups" of the era. Not only did the band rock, but the girls played their own instruments - and played them well! They gigged around New York and made a name for themselves performing at various clubs and private star-studded parties. Eric Burdon (of The Animals) saw a show, was impressed by Goldie's "black-sounding" vocals, and later recorded them singing "Can't You Hear My Heartbeat". The single charted in England, but they were cheated of a U.S. hit by Herman's Hermits' cover version. More singles ensued (they never released an album), but big success eluded them.

According to her excellent memoir "Lollipop Lounge" (2004), England and America had some kind of work-exchange arrangement, and the British acts could only come to America if England welcomed an American act in return. This led to Goldie and The Gingerbreads frequently going to England, where they would tour as openers for all the major British rock acts of the day, including the Stones and the Kinks. Because of this, numerous British groups were permitted to tour America. In all seriousness, this could be Genya's greatest contribution to American pop culture. She allowed the British Invasion to happen!

After the collapse of her all-girl group in 1968, Goldie changed her name to Genya Ravan and became the lead singer of Ten Wheel Drive. Between 1969 and 1971 they released 3 splendid albums of jazz/rock. With founding members Michael Zager, Adam Schefrin, and an ever changing line-up of horn players - Genya and band headlined at college campuses everywhere, and opened for huge stars like Steppenwolf and Sly and the Family Stone in big arenas.

The quick and lazy way to describe the group would be this: they sounded like Janis Joplin singing with Blood, Sweat & Tears. But that's really not fair. Genya was more versatile than Janis. True, Genya wailed like the best of them at times - but she could also be as subtle as Astrud Gilberto, as swinging as Sarah Vaughan, or as r&b as Etta James. She proved she could do all this on the Ten Wheel Drive records and on her excellent solo debut album "Genya Ravan" (1972). Her only serious vocal competition was Bonnie Bramlett of the supergroup Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, but they were more straight-forward country/blues, rock and gospel than the more sophisticated and intricately arranged TWD. Genya got to show off her chops more than Bonnie. So did her band.

After Ten Wheel Drive broke up and her first solo album failed, Genya released a series of albums she wasn't fully satisfied with. She felt their creative direction had been wrested away from her, and this led to her parallel career as a record producer. Ravan would become the first woman producer to be hired by a major label. She produced the punk rock debut album of the Dead Boys, the comeback album for Ronnie Spector, and many others. But most importantly she produced her own "Urban Desire" (1978).

What can I say about this record? That it's perfect? Yes, it is. That it sums up her entire life up till that time? Yes, it does. The lyrics reflect New York and life and love as she lived it; her vocal phrasing sums up a lifetime of experience and wisdom. The difference this time out is the record totally rocks. It sounds a lot like the kind of music Rod Stewart made with the Faces. She alternates between tough and tender. There's a few slower songs (including the bluesy, brilliant "Shadowboxing"), but there's no jazz. "Jerry's Pigeons" is fantastic and sounds like a Phil Spector production. The whole album is exciting and fun. Every song is great!

She duplicated this feat a year later when she produced her equally wonderful follow-up album "...And I Mean It!" (1979). Then she wasn't heard from for over 20 years until her odds-and-sods "For Fans Only" CD, the release of her autobiography, and the great "Genya Ravan Live" CD (2006) recorded at CBGB's a year earlier. Around that time she had performed a few shows in New York. The "missing years" were spent producing and working in the promotional departments of record labels big and small (including CBGB's label). A perusal of her official website reveals she's currently a part-time DJ on satellite radio, and still keeping an eye on new bands with the idea of producing them. Nearly fifty years in the business and she's still going strong.

So, what to make of Genya Ravan? Let's review, shall we? First of all, she was the first well-known woman record producer in a field still dominated by men. Secondly - and most significantly - no other artist (woman or man) in music history has spanned so many different eras. She was there in the doo-wop ballad era with The Escorts, she was there during the go-go years of the girl groups with the only group that could play, she was an active participant of the British Invasion, she was part of the hippie scene with a band that was a forerunner of melding together jazz and rock, and she was a 70's rock star involved with the birth of punk. She's the "Queen Mother" of rock. You should buy her!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
In a Class Of Her Own 22 Nov 2005
By JLee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Were I to find myself on a desert island with only a solar powered CD player and one disc, this would be the one. Since it's release in the late seventies, I continue to marvel at how fresh this self-produced record sounds. In short, each song is a gem and as a collection (combined with Genya equally amazing "and I Mean It") they are the ultimate primer for what great Rock and Roll is about. In short, the production is dynamic and flawless, the band is smoking and the songs are incredbile (Joe Droukas' Shadowboxing still sends chills up the spine everytime I hear it).

That's about the record... now, about Genya. If you don't know her work, then forget any of the nonsensical comparisons you might have read and go out and and discover her for yourself. The woman is in a class all her own and is one of the finest vocalists in any genre, and over her impressive career she has covered them all. Do yourself a favor, check out her book "Lollipop Lounge" and her website: [...]. This is the REAL DEAL!

Bottom line, If you love Rock and Roll that's straight from the soul, order Urban Desire and marvel at this amazing talent!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Stunning NYC Rock 'n' Roll 27 Jan 2006
By Dee Sharp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I picked this record up at a friend's suggestion. A former New Yorker myself, he thought I'd like it. He couldn't have been more right. Each note brings back the sights, smells and sounds of New York City in the late '70s. This is a must have for any New Yorker. As the other reviewer wrote, this is gutbucket rock 'n' roll from the soul. The record is brilliant from start to end, but it's her version of The Supremes' "Back In My Arms Again" that ends up on repeat.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Genya's Greatest Rocks Hard! 28 Jun 2007
By gassy goon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Genya Ravan let loose in the studio, producing this hard-rockin' album in 1978 that is still fresh & contemporary now. This album is just filled with Genya's assets of combining hard rock, punk, r&b and blues into a cohesive sound of true rock n'roll. Definitely one of the best albums ever released by a woman in rock! Rates up there with the best of them. It could only be made by this woman from New York City , who was empowered with a lot of experience, attitude & brashness. She made a lot of bold steps, which musically are solid, even though it didn't result in massive sales like Pat Benatar.

Genya's own songs like the opener " Jerry's Pigeons " , which is just an awesome song & performance that has imagery of NYC , street gangs & 50's rock 'n' roll are truly magnificent, as are the songs penned by others. Her version of " Back In My Arms Again " rocks hard, as does " The Knight Ain't Long Enough ", " Cornered ", and " Shot In The Heart ". But there are many dimensions & facets to her music, and " Do It Just For Me " is really beautiful, starting off slow with mandolins, and picks up with her amazing band of musicians rockin' it up. Likewise, " Darling I Need You " written by John Cale boasts rollickin' piano , harmonica & awesome vocals. The closer " Shadowboxing " is a long epic ballad all about NYC & different social classes that Genya still sings in concert, as she does many of these great songs on this killer album. This album was the culmination of all her years singing in different bands like The Escorts, Goldie & The Gingerbreads, and Ten Wheel Drive. Performers who came out after Genya Ravan have a debt to pay her for showing them the way.

Worth owning, and definitely one of rock's true women rockers long before many others who may have gained more hits & success, but don't have the long history that Genya has, and had when she made this album.
Best Album by an Underappreciated Artist 20 Jun 2008
By Michael Allen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Genya Ravan was born in Poland in 1940 and immigrated to this country at the age of 7, with her parents and one sister (the rest her family had been killed in the Nazi Holocaust.) In the late '60s, she became the lead singer of the band Ten Wheel Drive, often sharing the bill with artists such as Blood Sweat & Tears, Frank Zappa & Janis Joplin.

This recording is the next to last in a series of solo records she made between 1972 & 1979 - and, in my opinion, it's the best of the lot.

All of the songs are well-written & Genya's sparkling performance ensures that there isn't a single dead spot on the entire album. The style is straight-ahead rock, with an R&B sensibility. There are some nice covers (Back In My Arms Again & Darling I Need You) and some really great originals (Jerry's Pigeons, The Sweetest One, Messin Around & Aye Co'lorado - with guest appearance by Lou Reed - stand out.)

The album cover might seem to indicate more of a Punk/New Wave style, but make no mistake, this is a rock album - the harmonica/slide guitar leads in Messin Around are more reminiscent of Foghat than any type of New Wave and Shadowboxing could easily be imagined as a Rolling Stones cover.

If you like powerful rock vocals, this album is definitely worth checking out.
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