Martinis & Bikinis
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel includes: Sam Phillips (vocals); Mickey Curry, David Mansfield, Jerry Scheff, Michael Blair, Marvin Etzioni, Don Heffington, Steven Hodges, Colin Moulding, Larry Taylor, Benmont Tench.
  • Sid Page Strings: Sid Page, Joel Derouin, Robert Becker, Larry Corbett.
  • "Circle Of Fire" was nominated for a 1995 Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.
  • MARTINIS & BIKINIS is a quirky, brilliant set of songs, lovingly arranged by the estimable T-Bone Burnett for his wife, singer-songwriter Sam Phillips. She's an endearing curmudgeon who shines the searing searchlight of her wit upon some large targets, with telling results.
  • Much has been made of the Beatles influence pervading MARTINIS & BIKINIS, and while there are nods and winks in the instrumental flourishes, perhaps people are picking up on Phillips' non-cliched brushstrokes upon the canvas of rock songforms. Her songs deal with issues more telling than oooooh, baby and `duh road,' and her music is a the ragabilly mix of jangling guitars, keening vocal harmonies and dense percussive colors. She has an antediluvian notion that pop music can dispense revelation and inspiration.
  • Neither in the cranky country warble of her voice, nor in her bold range of instrumental colors, does Phillips back off from the depth of her feelings. "Baby I Can't Please You" rails against fundamentalist paranoia, while "Black Sky" hints at the interdependency of life. Sturdy love songs such as "Strawberry Road," "When I Fall" ("Control is letting go/And I'm the last to know") and "I Need Love" depict the danger and attraction of longing and vulnerability in vivid imagery that eschews cheap sentiment. MARTINIS & BIKINIS is a truly original pop album.
  • MARTINIS & BIKINIS is a quirky, brilliant set of songs, lovingly arranged by the estimable T-Bone Burnett for his wife, singer-songwriter Sam Phillips. Much has been made of the Beatles influence pervading MARTINIS & BIKINIS, and while there are nods and winks in the instrumental flourishes, perhaps people are picking up on Phillips' non-cliched brushstrokes upon the canvas of rock songforms. Her music is a ragabilly mix of jangling guitars, keening vocal harmonies, and dense percussive colors. She has an antediluvian notion that pop music can dispense revelation and inspiration. Neither in the cranky country warble of her voice, nor in her bold range of instrumental colors, does Phillips back off from the depth of her feelings. "Baby I Can't Please You" rails against fundamentalist paranoia, while "Black Sky" hints at the interdependency of life. Sturdy love songs such as "Strawberry Road," "When I Fall" ("Control is letting go/And I'm the last to know"), and "I Need Love" depict the danger and attraction of longing and vulnerability in vivid imagery that eschews cheap sentiment. MARTINIS & BIKINIS is a truly original pop album.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (3/24/94, p.93) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...Sam Phillips is a rarity--an artist who seduces and disturbs. And MARTINIS & BIKINIS is equally rare, a rude and lovely awakening for this compelling talent...."

Musician (3/94, p.85) - "...For all her sense of poetry and power-pop, Sam Phillips is developing into a first-class crank, God bless her....MARTINIS AND BIKINIS is classic-style protest singing that purrs..."

Village Voice (2/28/95) - Ranked #19 in the Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.

Mojo (Publisher) (p.104) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Arranged by Van Dyke Parks....[A] razor-edged 1994 Beatles-pop alt country gem..."
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