Ah, the wonders of showbiz. As lead guitarist and singer for the !Screamin’ Sirens!, Rosie Flores (previously of San Diego’s Rosie and the Screamers) performed her share of perky throwaway power pop, the kind of junk that fairly exploded out of the woodwork in the wake of Blondie’s late-’70s success. At other times, the four Sirens served up transparently fake country-rock or the entertaining bogus funk of “Mr. T Luv Boogie.”
Lo and behold, three years after the halfhearted Fiesta!, Flores turned up as a “real” country artist, doing that old Bakersfield boogie on a fine solo album produced by Pete Anderson of Dwight Yoakam fame. Billy Bremner is her guitarist; Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo contributes rippling accordion on “Midnight to Moonlight,” a Flores tune first heard on Fiesta!.
With only vocalist/songwriter Pleasant Gehman and bassist Miiko Watanabe returning from the first album, a new set of Sirens made the personality-free Voodoo, a stinky, poorly sung collection of coy songs about sex and romance.
The Ringling Sisters — a sextet whose first album is a diverse jazz/folk/rock/country collection produced by Lou Adler — includes Gehman and Annette Zilinskas (Bangles/Blood on the Saddle). With amusing spoken interludes and uneven songwriting on a broad variety of topics, 60 Watt Reality is an intriguing, odd and occasionally stimulating LP. Best tracks: “Way Out West” and “Kimberly Rose,” both of which have lyrics by Gehman and music by guitarist/bassist Gary Eaton.