Before L7 there was The Runaways. But long before Jett, Ford, Currie and co. had plugged into their Marshall’s, there was Birtha, a loud, heavy quartet from Los Angeles. (Before Birtha there was the New York-based Goldie and the Gingerbreads but that’s another story). Birtha always seem to get grouped with bands like Fanny and Isis, who in my opinion were a lot softer than these gals. You gotta remember that way back in the early 70’s, all-girl outfits who played and wrote their own material were very rare in the then male-dominated industry (then ? what year is it ?) so that even Birtha’s promo material put out by their record company, would promote them on a male value system, stating things like “has balls” !! Hmmn. We can thank early all-girl outfits like Birtha, for paving the way for lots of all-girl bands in the years following their demise, and also for the current crop of all-girl groups on the scene today. Released in 1973 this album was recorded at Crystal Studios in Hollywood, and was produced by Christopher Huston. ‘Freedom’ is the first cut and is a bright, melodic chunk of pop. ‘My Man Told Me’ is etched with a raunchiness not unlike early 70’s Stones and sounds great on ten. ‘Don’t Let It Get You Down’ is awash with a dreamy keyboard sound Ray Manzarek would be proud of. ‘Rock Me’ is a gritty, bluesy little offering full of dirty sounding guitar. Birtha were Shele Pinizzotto (guitars) Liver Favela (percussion) Sherry Hagler (keyboards) and Rosemary Butler (bass). Each member sings lead on one or more than one track on this album. Favela and Butler possess vocals that’d have the likes of Tori Amos and Alanis Morissette taking cover. Other highlights are the groove filled ‘All This Love’, ‘My Pants Are Too Short’ and the haunting ‘(When Will Ya) Understand’. If you’ve been searching for an album spiced with raunchy melodies, strong vocals and honey coated harmonies – look no further…you’ve finally found it.