Four terrific 1970s albums by female artists that should have sold better

There was plenty of love for these 1970s albums, but they deserved more sales and much higher chart success.

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The Roches - The Roches

This was very much a feminine album in so many ways. Until this point, Maggie and Terre Roche had been performing and recording as a duo. They even appeared as backing singers for Paul Simon on his There Goes Rhymin’ Simon album. Younger sister Suzzy made it a trio before they recorded this self-titled album, The Roches which was released in April 1979.

The record continued to include The Roches’ songs about life as a woman. The album wasn’t about rampant feminism, a lot was focused on day-to-day life, growing up and leaving home or moving on. Clever lyrics, some smart humour, and simple instrumentation all contributed to the charm and appeal of the record. 

It’s a bit of pop music, a bit of folk, with slight rock influences from Robert Fripp who produced the album, which all combined very well. As did the sisters' wide range of vocal tones on some well-worked harmonies. Particularly beautiful and poignant is “Hammond Song”, while the album goes from the quirky, humorous opener “We” through to the folky but sophisticated “Pretty And High” as the closing track.

There wasn’t much in the way of commercial success for the album. It wasn’t a big seller at all. But it was so well respected and admired by critics and reviewers, both at the time and subsequently. It’s a cult classic of sorts, which has sadly bypassed many listeners who would love it.