After spending several years in the embryonic form of Dream 6 (under which name they released an EP for Happy Hermit in France), Hollywood, California, USA-based rock outfit Concrete Blonde formed in 1986. The founders of the group, former Sparks member Jim Mankey (James Mankey, 23 May 1952, Pennsylvania, USA; guitar) and Johnette Napolitano (b. 22 September 1957, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA; bass/vocals), were joined by Harry Rushakoff (b. 17 November 1959, USA; drums) for their 1986 debut on I.R.S. Records. Its alluring mix of energy, sensitivity and streetwise wit secured Concrete Blonde a positive response from both the music press and more mature rock audiences.
For the 1989 follow-up Free, Napolitano handed over bass playing to new member Alan Block, allowing her to concentrate on singing. Irrespective of this, she remained the focus of the band. Her remarkable voice, both assertive and vulnerable, gave Concrete Blonde much...