Hailing from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Ethel-Ann Powell cited the political violence she witnessed in Spain during her junior year abroad from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as one major reason she felt like she’d lived several lifetimes by the time she recorded her first and only LP, Elephant Patch, in 1979. Twenty-one at the time, and back from the trip having realized “how spoiled we are in this young country,” she created the record shortly thereafter.
Powell completed Elephant Patch in just five days at Fred Rumfelt’s Country Road Studio in Marion, North Carolina. Twenty-four-year-old ace John T. Oxford III on his Fender Stratocaster helped execute eight original compositions, while bassist Jody Tanzer and drummer Marty Brittain held down the rhythm section. “Gentle One” reflects Powell’s need to “stop short of commerciality,” she said. “I need to fuck them up. You really do need to fuck up a love song to make it believable.”
Years in Austin and Manhattan, cassette releases and brushes with the music industry, and heavy partying would follow. Powell eventually got clean and sober and settled back in North Carolina, with her darkly humorous lyrical vision quite intact.
More Cosmic American Music
Cosmic American Music
Move With Love