High Risk (This Is Some Deep Lesbian Music History)

Who were those wild women? Well, they are on the cover of one of the very rarest lesbian 45 rpm recordings. It took me years to track down my own copy, so of course I want to share the story. The music admittedly (at least to me) is not the type to grab a listener, but its use was really intended for a soundtrack of a film. In 1975 Donna Deitch….wait, you know that name….she was the Director of the 1986 classic lesbian film “Dessert Hearts.” Anyway, back in 1975 she produced her first film, a 48-minute documentary called “Woman to Woman” (see review) and the soundtrack included two songs that became the single above.

Historically, the “Common Woman” side is of more interest, as it is based on a poem by iconic lesbian poet Judy Grahn. In the band itself was one name I know, Virginia Rubino, as she was in the group BeBe K’Roche, and their eponymous 1976 album was the third released by Olivia Records. And their most known song was “Kahlua Mama.” Olivia’s first release was in 1974, so again, this was early in the Women’s Music Movement.

Here’s a side trivia note only I would care about…Olivia Records distributed many releases by artists not actually on the label, and the 45 above was the very first one that the label distributed, in 1975. Here’s the back cover and a close up.

You can stream both songs at the links…

The Common Woman

“Degradation” is the side I prefer, the more political side, and I know of no other release by this quartet (Virginia Rubino, Sandi Ajida, Cyndy Mason and Bobi Jackson).

And, back to my original question…who were those wild women…:) The EP only credits the work as “Painting by Max,” but a google image search found that the artist was Max Dashu, who has a long history of preserving women’s history, and has the website Suppressed Histories, which is worth a visit.