I’d love to say that I was one of those people who remembered Fanny from their heyday and had kept their albums all these years, and always wondered why they hadn’t made it bigger. But like most of those people, I’d be lying. I don’t remember ever having heard of Fanny before about three years ago, when articles suddenly appeared, and a lot of video surfaced, praising what was widely claimed to be the first all-female band that wrote their own material and played their own instruments. Despite the fact they had a Top 40 hit with “Charity Ball” in 1971, and a different version of the group had another hit with “Butter Boy” (about David Bowie) in 1975, I honestly couldn’t say I had heard any of their songs before they started popping up in my YouTube feed about 2018. I didn’t even get the “oh, yeah, this sounds familiar” feeling. Nothing. Maybe they got no airplay in the tri-cities.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a group of friends who do a record crawl which, under the auspices of our ringleader, gets more aggressive and adventurous every year. In 2018 I had another earlier commitment on the day of the crawl, and so could only join my friends at their final stop, MaTones Records in Collegeville, PA. After hitting four or five other stores all across the greater Philadelphia area, they were looking pretty bleary, worse for wear and tear. Well, you know what kinda eyes they got. I, however, arrived fresh, and in those bins found not one but two Fanny records, just at the time of peak Fanny retrohype. They were their first, 1970’s “Fanny,” and their third, 1972’s “Fanny Hill.” Well, I couldn’t not buy them!
I brought them home and listened a few times and consigned them to the “okay” category. Pioneering and all, yes, but musically, they were okay. Then I listened again, and again, and really started to get into their sound. They make their covers (on this album, Cream’s “Badge” and a Booker T song) their own, and their own songs cover diverse hard-rocking territory for the time. The more I listen, the more I like them. Like, a lot. They’re quite good, very enjoyable, very 1970.
I just never expected I would spend my 50s discovering and rediscovering bands from my teens, but I guess that’s how it goes.