Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Stormin' Norman & Suzy

  • Fantasy Rag [Perfect Crime, 1975] B
  • Ocean of Love [Polydor, 1978] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Fantasy Rag [Perfect Crime, 1975]
This might just be another good-time band dedicated to the proposition that scuzz is cute if it weren't for Suzy Williams's natural echo, which calls up images of riverboats and cathouse pianos despite the thin recording. Unfortunately, Norman Zamcheck's voice calls up images of an account executive fulfilling his inner nature, and while his songs really are fantasy rags--"Wealthy Philanthropist," for example, is a piquant piece of '20s camp--he captures Suzy perfectly only twice. The titles suggest her emotional range: "Rise, Angel" and "Crazy Lady." B

Ocean of Love [Polydor, 1978]
If anything, this intelligent major-label debut is a half-step down. There are no disabling gaffes, and in theory it's good for Suzy to sing more and Norman less; her big, sad, cheerful voice sounds more like itself, too. But despite the ocean noises and "The Gallant Balloonist" and a coda that goes "socked right in the kisser--right in the eye," this is definitely an attempt at de-zanification. And what the world needs from Suzy Williams is not another chick--oops, woman, forgot about "You Keep Me Cryin'"--singer. It's Suzy. B