Josie Cotton’s debut album, with the exception of the offensive but popular “Johnny, Are You Queer?,” is really good ’60s-derived ’80s California pop, powered by a subtly solid band and spiced up with exactly enough atmospheric organ. Cotton has a strong, expressive voice that suits the material (mostly hers, some written by producers Bobby and Larson Paine) just fine, especially on the bouncy “He Could Be the One” and a cover of the 1962 Exciters’ hit, “Tell Him.”
Cotton offers another sophisticated come-hither look on the cover of From the Hip; the music is pretty much a repeat engagement of the first LP as well, although not as creatively successful. “Jimmy Loves Maryann,” which leads off the record, is its best number; elsewhere, intrusive rock moves muddy the pop clarity, although not enough to be fatal. Cotton has a great voice, but she’s subservient to production and songwriting; here, with fewer of her own songs and a baring of increased commercial intentions, she gets a second-rate assist.