I vividly remember walking into my local HMV record store in 1989 and seeing a tape by an artist named “Phranc,” with a picture on the cover of an androgynous but fairly masculine person wearing a turtleneck and drinking a glass of milk, adorned with the title I Enjoy Being a Girl, and just being utterly confused. Now I wasn’t a sheltered country bumpkin; I grew up in a very progressive city, and certainly had encountered people of varying shades of sexuality and gender from a very young age, but this… this flummoxed me. Frank is a man’s name, right? But when you make it “Phranc,” what does that do? And the crewcut, and the turtleneck… but then it says right there, “I enjoy being a girl.” I admit it was all a bit too much for my little brain to handle at the time. And good for Phranc (who is, indeed, a girl/woman, born Susan Gottlieb) for phucking with people’s programs so ephectively.
Folksinger was Phranc’s first effort, and although the cover picture on this one seems much less confusing than the later album that confused me so, it was 1985, and her name was Phranc, so I certainly understand if some people didn’t quite get it. Seems pretty much everyone loved this album, though, whoever they thought was singing it.
Phranc is still around and doing her thing, though she is focusing mostly on her cardboard sculpture. You can, however, order an original song directly from her, sung to a loved one over the phone, which is a pretty sweet gift. Mother’s Day is just around the corner!
“Purdy hep, purdy relevant, rather chucklesome! Primes one for trainhoppin’. ‘Dumb Hairdresser.'”
“She looks a little like Billy Bragg. Oh yeah — great record!”
“Phranc is swell. The mugsy influence sinks in?”
“A simply wonderful record! Delightfully acoustic and original sounding folk music. And the lyrics recreate the tone and subject matter of both traditional (very old) folk music and modern (1960s) folk music. Produced very nicely by Ethan James at Radio Tokyo Studios.”
“Phranc’s vocals are incredibly high pitched and crispy clear.”
“Probably because Phranc is a girl.”
“Lifelover: Life could be a dream, if I could take you up in paradise…”
Ye Gods!! Bulldyke folk music!”
“The only way to go.”
“Nice haircut babe.”
“I love this album!”