- Little Sister (Millar/Brettell) [3.59]
- Young Hearts (Lonmon
- Ready And Willing (Millar/Brettell/Lonmon
- No Man Shall Fall (Angelo/Sargent) [4.15] MP3
- You Got My Heart (Mudie/Robbie) [3.21]
- A.C.T.I.O.N. (Millar/Brettell/Lonmon
- Lovesick (Millar/Brettell) [3.49]
- Dear Abbie (One Night Of Passion) (Lonmon
/Robbie/Millar/Brettell) [4.48] MP3
- Watch My Lips (Millar/Brettell) [3.21]
- Daddy Was A Rocker (Millar/Brettell/Robbie) [4.15]
- Little Sister (Crank Up The Guitar 12" Mix) (Millar/Brettell) [5.36]
Click on the song title for the lyrics. Click on
to hear the song in MP3 format.
Need MP3 software? Go
Buy this CD from One World
18 August 1990, Tusk, TUCD 7
SA Rock Digest Issue#86, 3 December 2000
Kurt Shoemaker, Blanco, Texas
After I bought Little Sister's 'While No One Was Looking', their greatest hits, I wanted their other CDs. A natural place to start was the first Little Sister release, 'Ready and Willing'.
The personnel on this disc are:
Jenni and Debbi Lonmon (lead vocals and voice harmonica, bass and vocals, respectively)
Sandy Robbie (a tuff-looking and tough-playing guitarist -- this guy fills up the rock tracks with great chops)
Marc Bentell (keyboards and vocals)
Johnny Burnett (drums and percussion)
'Ready and Willing' was produced by Ron (Bones) Brettell, Bernie Millar, and Sandy Robbie.
To guess by the inner sleeve photo, Marc looks like a fun hambone, while Johnny Burnett looks like he has a wry outlook on life. And the Lonmon Sisters... I suspect they are a nice combination of tough and sensitive.
Little Sister's 'Ready and Willing' has: rockers, smooth ballads, a cool anthem, a serious song that was a hit, and an extended cut of the opening track, 'Little Sister' (aptly sub-titled the 'Crank Up the Guitar 12" Mix'). Not only is this CD to my taste, but my daughter spontaneously sings along to many of the tracks. To appeal to such a range is no little feat but rather is a testimony to a fine debut rock album.
I enjoy writing about songs as I listen to the album. If you know the album well I hope this is meaningful. If you don't, I hope it makes you curious about the album. I also hope that my explications are not vivisections from which the patient does not survive. Anyway here's my song-by-song, play-by-play, of 'Ready and Willing', a fine and rockin' album:
'Little Sister' -- Start the entertainment with a sterling rocker, this
isn't chick rock, it's rock, a song that it demands your attention. This one and 'A.C.T.I.O.N' are my daughter's favorite cuts on this CD.
'Young Hearts' -- Slow the pace down a notch to a pretty melody. Here it seems like the Lonmon sisters decided to show their range, going from rocker to ballad in the first two tracks on this disc.
'Ready & Willing' -- They rock again, just in case we were wondering they were going to wimp out on us after the strong open. Cool bassy break, too.
'No Man Shall Fall' -- One of my favorites on the disc. This one builds to a plaintive, sincere choir-like refrain. This is the one song written by outside songwriters.
'You Got My Heart' -- A bouncy poppy number with some nice guitar work.
While most of the songs on this CD are written by the band and the producers (the names Lonmon, Millar, Brettell, and Robbie dominate), this one was co-written with Robbie by some ou named Benjy Mudie....
'A.C.T.I.O.N.' -- A show opener? A cool song that somehow makes me think of partying at the beach even though it does not mention the coast. It only has that spirit. You, too, can sing along to the chorus the first time around. Come on everybody: "The boys want girls, but the girls want men!"
'Lovesick' -- Sandy Robbie's opening guitar right away lets us know this is a tough and aggressive tune. If doubts existed, Jenni lets the guy she's singing to know that she's had enough, she means it, "I'm just sick of you!"
'Dear Abbie (One Night of Passion)' This number avoids being depressing, emerging as poignant instead. This was also the hit from this album, and deservedly so. Jenni has a touching, convincing voice.
I consciously do not compare SA artists with artists from around the world because I view performers individually; even if working within a certain style, sincere artists are their own man or woman. But I tell you what, the Lonmon ladies can take a song that is potentially depressing and make it, as said, poignant -- unlike Janis Ian, who is so often merely a drag. Right now I'm glad I'm listening to 'Dear Abbie' instead of 'At Seventeen'. (Don't tell Janis I said that, she is such a vulnerable artiste that it would hurt her feelings.)
'Watch My Lips' -- An assertive rock song. Tell him how it is, Sisters. Like 'Lovesick' this is a get-out-of-my-life-song. Nice mix of tough song with sweet female background vocals. This song and the next one both rock hard for the big finish before the 'Little Sister' remix.
'Daddy Was a Rocker' -- The title is reminiscent of classic rock 'n' roll, but this has a modern heavy guitar 'n' pounding drums sensibility, told from the life-hardened point of view of a girl raised on the road because her father wanted to be a rock 'n' roll star.
'Little Sister (Crank Up the Guitar 12" Mix)' -- Added effects, as one might expect with an extra minute-and-a-half running length, and, also as expected and welcomed, a cranked-up guitar. So we end where we began, but with more at the end.
You know, the musicianship on this CD is great, and the production is nice and clear -- but one thing that strikes me about the Lonmon sisters is the sincerity they sing with. When rocking, loving, or breaking up, I believe them -- especially Jenni, the lead vocalist.
Gosh, and at only R60 at One World I feel like I got a deal, even with
One of the things I like about South African music is that there is a
welcome lack of throwaway filler tracks on SA CDs. This album is typical in that each track is a welcome song. 'Ready and Willing' does have the energy and advantage of being a first album, so I'll see how the other discs match up as my Little Sister buying program continues.
The Sisters are back in the studio and making a new album. This is a band whose catalogue I'll certainly end up with, from the first release to the next one.
Strutterzine, February 2000
'Ready and willing' was the debut CD of the sisters Jenni and Debbi Lonmon from South-Africa. This CD clearly saw them searching for the right style. In a lot of ways this CD sounds similar to the debut records of bands like BIG TROUBLE and BURNS SISTERS BAND. Especially opener "Little sister" has the same melodic poprock sound as BURNS SISTERS created on their debut album. This song is a very cool uptempo rocker. Next track "Young hearts" is nice calmer AOR. Pretty good is the title song of the CD, this is a good midtempo AOR tune a la HEART. The epic ballad "No man shall fall" follows. Then we get to hear the best song of the whole CD, namely "You got my heart". This is a very catchy cheerful 80s typed uptempo AOR rocker a la PAUL GODFREY BAND/TONE NORUM (first two). The simple poprocker "Action" is up next. The following two songs are a bit weak. These are "Lovesick" (groovier rocker) and "Dear Abbie" (soft popballad which became a very big hit in South-Africa). Happily, the next track "Watch my lips" is much better and AOR oriented. This song is a wonderful HEART styled AOR rocker with very melodic harmony vocals of the two sisters. The final two songs are not so interesting. "Daddy was a rocker" is a very simple poprocker and the CD closes with a remix of the opening song. Concluded, I have to clear up that this debut CD of LITTLE SISTER is not their best effort and they were really looking for a good style.
If you thought Pretoria was famed only for its Union Buildings, fur-lined Cortinas or political tomfoolery, think again! Over the past decade the Capital City has consistently produced some of the finest contemporary talent around including Colin Pratley's "Wildebeest" and more recently Neill Solomon's "Passengers." So it is only fitting that one of the most exciting new groups to emerge in the '90's should come out of Pretoria.
Growing up in the mid-70's in the shade of the jacaranda trees and listening to the radio, sisters Debbi and Jenni Lonmon soaked up many of the musical influences that eventually would merge with their own ideas to form the unique Little Sister sound - acoustic folk, blues and hard-edged Rock 'n' Roll.
In 1987 they decided to form a group and spent some time rehearsing material and recording demos on an antiquated track machine. Together with a guitarist friend they formed "On Account" and extensively toured the pub circuit pumping out the contemporary hits of the day along with some more obscure cover versions, all the while composing and honing their own original material. Debbi, who had left school at 16 to teach classical guitar and later joined up with "Pantha" (which in turn produced P.J. Powers) switched from guitar to bass while Jenni handled lead vocals and percussion. The next two years were spent gigging through the country; it is true to say that their motto was "have band will travel."
In early 1989 the group changed their name to something more direct – so Little Sister was born. The producers, Ronald "Bones" Brettell and Bernie Millar, went to see the group live and they were so knocked out with their potential that they set about writing and recording some material. Out of the first batch of demos came the self-titled 'Little Sister,' a no-nonsense hard-edged rocker that neatly encapsulated the group's energy and verve. The group's new-found direction came up trumps again with 'A.C.T.I.O.N.' a driving pop song reminiscent of the 60's sing-a-long anthems.
Armed with both songs and a growing live reputation, the group approached Tusk Music who signed them in December 1989. The next few months were spent writing and recording tracks with Bones & Bernie for their debut album. In the meantime, Debbi and Jenni, now down to a duo, added three new members to Little Sister: guitarist extraordinaire Sandy Robbie; keyboardist Mark Bentel and drummer Johnny Burnett.
Little Sister's debut album 'Ready & Willing' took over six months to record and it shows in the production – it's tight, packed with great pop songs and a level of sophistication rarely heard in South Africa productions. In addition to 'Little Sister' and 'A.C.T.I.O.N.' the album showcases the unmistakable high soaring harmonies of sisters Debbi and Jenni Lonmon, fused with Sandy Robbie's fiery fretboard work backed by a rock solid rhythm section. The songs range from the West Coast influenced 'Young Hearts' to the pulsating title track coupled with out-and-out rockers like, 'You've Got My Heart' and 'Lovesick.' The album's highlight is a pair of ballads, the hypnotic 'No Man Shall Fall' with its lush orchestral feel and 'Dear Abbie' the poignant story of a pregnant teenager's letter to a magazine columnist.
Debbi and Jenni then rehearsed the new expanded line-up for concerts to back the release of the album. Their intention was to take the Little Sister sound to the people. With its combination of great, hook-filled pop songs, strong musicianship and focused production, 'Ready & Willing' filled an obviously empty gap in the South African pop spectrum.
Little Sister have arrived – they're doing it for themselves.