Fresh out of Montreal-based pop rockers, Life, Zimmerman released her lone solo album on the tiny local Crescent City label (not to be confused with the New Orleans-based label of the same name) in 1969. With the heavy-handed liner notes proclaiming her as ?possibly the greatest Canadian female vocalist on the scene today,? Zimmerman had a lot of hype to live up to, but she gives it the old college try on these ten tracks that combine tender ballads with pleasantly unassuming pop and roll. She storms out of the gate with the storming, pro-feminist anthem, ?Don?t Twist My Mind,? which appropriates the theme of female independence from Leslie Gore?s ?You Don?t Own Me? and predates Helen Reddy?s mega-smash, ?I Am Woman? by several years. ?You?re The One? is another ferocious rocker, with Zimmerman?s powerful belting setting the stage for the sort of self-assured female pop/rock that would become all the rage once Linda Ronstadt hit the airwaves and the record charts a full four years later with ?Don?t Cry Now? (Asylum, 1973).
?Contemplation? is a soft ballad, reminiscent of Glen Campbell?s mid-60?s Jimmy Webb interpretations, while ?Say Goodbye? is a pleasant, radio-friendly charmer, with Zimmerman?s alluring, girl-next-door vocals making you want to just wrap her in your arms and protect her from that big, bad music wolf at the door! Think Maureen McGovern or Olivia Newton-John with a kickass backing band and you?ve got an idea of what?s on display here. (And remember, those ladies were still about four years away from their breakthrough hits!) A surprising (and surprisingly strong) cover of Jack Bruce?s ?Theme From An Imaginary Western? (which appeared on Bruce?s debut solo album released the same year and, again, predates the more famous cover by Mountain a year later!) illustrates Zimmerman?s eclectic music tastes.
Zimmerman and her band pull out all the stops on the heart pounding ?Because The World Is Mine,? although her vocals do tend to get a little lost in the sauce, suggesting the tenderer ballads were more her forte. The soft, country rambler, ?Paint Me A Picture,? for example, is a perfect marriage of vocals and folky backing, and is clearly the album?s highlight. She even takes a credible stab at gospel-inflected blues with the powerful, ?Love Me, Love My Children.?
So, perhaps it was the small label, her Canadian location and/or the lack of stronger ear candy, but Zimmerman was unfairly kept off the charts and out of the public?s eye and quickly faded from sight, only to reappear as one of Leonard Cohen?s backup singers during his 1975 North American tour, and then as a member of the forgettable, multi-lingual disco trio(!), Toulouse. With better luck, a little stronger material and perhaps a US distributor, Lorri might have broken into the stronger American market and staked a claim as a Canadian Linda Ronstadt. But we now have this little lost archival gem to remember her by, thus cementing her place in the Encyclopedia of Canadian Rock. 6/10 -- Jeff Penczak (14 August, 2007)