Love Apple - Self-titled (Numero Group)
In the late ’70s, three do-right women from Cleveland forged a brief partnership with Ohio’s everything man, Lou Ragland. Unlike the prefabricated singing combos of the day, Lily Pearson, Annette Warren, and Avetta Henry swapped lead duties as situation demanded. When a Ragland-centric publicity stunt preempted a concert appearance, Love Apple disintegrated, abandoning this rehearsal tape within the lo-fi confines of Thomas Boddie’s cherished Eastside studio. Devoid of bass, the sparse instrumentation (only Lou on guitar and piano and Hot Chocolate’s Tony Roberson on drums) accentuates each vocalist’s aptitude, showcasing some of Ragland’s finest songwriting in the process. During any given take, Ragland can be heard calling audibles, directing his singers to repeat a passage, or lending his own sweet tenor to the vocal mix. Never intended for release, Love Apple’s six-song sketch is the perfect companion to I Travel Alone, bringing Ragland’s unique musical vision into sharper focus.