Nobody’s Baby by Miriam. That’s right, just one name, like Cher or Madonna. Or Winger, for that matter. This is Miriam’s first solo album, and it’s a gem. If you’re expecting the same high-intensity, raucous ’n’ roll you find with The A-Bones, you won’t get it on Nobody’s Baby.
Instead, this album reminds me of two previous records, classy efforts both, in the Norton catalog: Dangerous Game, the 2007 “comeback” album by Mary Weiss, lead singer of The Shangri-Las, and All or Nothing by La La Brooks, who used to sing with The Crystals. Like those older albums, Nobody’s Baby is a contemporary take on the classic early- to mid-’60s girl-group sound — an adult update on the teen yearning and, yes, angst of that golden period.
Linna draws from a wide variety of songwriters, including Jeff Barry (who, with partner Ellie Greenwich, wrote “Leader of the Pack,” “Chapel of Love,” hits for The Ronettes, and dozens more songs — many, you’ve probably never heard of), Tim Buckley, Bobby Darin, Gene Clark (formerly of The Byrds), Neil Young (an early, obscure tune called “There Goes My Babe”), and The Ramones (though Miriam’s version of “Questioningly” sounds more like The Chiffons than anyone who ever played CBGBs).
Besides the influence of Shangri-Las, The Crystals, The Ronettes, and The Angels, I also hear echoes of folk rock – at least Jackie DeShannon-style folk rock – here. That’s especially obvious in the opening song, “My Love Is Gone.” And there are traces of British Invasion siren Sandie Shaw on the noirish “So Lonely.”
Currently, my favorite on Nobody’s Baby is “Walking Down the Street.” It’s the closest thing to a real rocker on the album. I thought this might be an obscure Shangri-Las B-side, but it was originally done by a Pretty Things offshoot band called The Electric Banana.