Strange Angels

Strange Angels

by Laurie AndersonLaurie Anderson


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Laurie Anderson's third proper studio album, coming over five years after 1984's Mister Heartbreak (1986's Home of the Brave was a film soundtrack), is a near-total departure from anything she had done before or, indeed, anything she did after. The most purely musical of Anderson's albums and the one on which she does the most actual singing (though her trademark deadpan spoken-word passages are still present and accounted for), Strange Angels seems to be Anderson's idea of a straightforward pop album. Of course, given Anderson's pedigree, this is not Whitney Houston territory; the closest parallel would be Joni Mitchell's more experimental, post-Mingus work: pretty but chilly, with a certain emotional distance even on the most immediately appealing songs (in this case, the thrilling "Babydoll" and the dreamy title track). There appears to be no underlying concept to the album, although the lyrical themes of three of the songs are explicitly taken from 19th century American literature. The musical arrangements are remarkably complex and feature cameos from not only Anderson's usual collaborators (Adrian Belew, David Van Tieghem, etc.) but also a motley crew ranging from jazz vocalist Bobby McFerrin to session keyboardist Robbie Kilgore. As a result, the songs are sometimes a little too busy, but Anderson manages to remain the center of attention throughout. An album on which longtime Anderson fans tend to be divided, Strange Angels is a perfect introduction for anyone who might find the deadpan surrealism of Big Science or United States I-IV a bit much.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/24/1989
Label: Imports
UPC: 0075992590020
catalogNumber: 840821
Rank: 26899


  1. Strange Angels
  2. Monkey's Paw
  3. Coolsville
  4. Ramon
  5. Babydoll
  6. Beautiful Red Dress
  7. The Day the Devil
  8. The Dream Before
  9. My Eyes
  10. Hiawatha

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Laurie Anderson   Primary Artist,Percussion,Keyboards,Vocals
Mark Egan   Bass
Scott Johnson   Guitar
"Blue" Gene Tyranny   Keyboards
Naná Vasconcelos   Percussion
Mark Dresser   Bass
Bobby McFerrin   Vocals
Alex Foster   Alto Saxophone
Chris Spedding   Guitar
Darryl Tookes   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Jimi Tunnell   Guitar
Lisa Fischer   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Arto Lindsay   Guitar
B.J. Nelson   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Joey Baron   Drums
Manolo Badrena   Percussion
Phillip Ballou   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Cyro Baptista   Percussion
Jimmy Bralower   Drums
Kenny Kosek   Violin
Benny Diggs   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus,Choir Master
Anton Fier   Drums
Laurie Frink   Trumpet
Steve Gadd   Drums
Earl Gardner   Trumpet
Sue Hadjopoulas   Percussion
Robbie Kilgore   Bass,Keyboards
Dave Lebolt   Keyboards
Yolanda Lee   Background Vocals
Tony Levin   Stick,Chapman Stick
Paulette McWilliams   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Hugh McCracken   Harmonica
Leon Pendarvis   Drums
Ray Phiri   Guitar
Lenny Pickett   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Ian Ritchie   Percussion
Suzzy Roche   Background Vocals
Peter Scherer   Bass,Keyboards
John Selolwane   Guitar
David Spinozza   Guitar
Mike Thorne   Percussion,Keyboards
Steve Turre   Trombone,Conch Shell
David Van Tieghem   Percussion
Gib Wharton   Pedal Steel Guitar
Diane Wilson   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Terre Roche   Background Vocals
Crusher   Percussion
Bill Buchen   Percussion
Eric Liljestrand   Sampling
Maggie Roche   Background Vocals
Lew Del Gatto   Baritone Saxophone
Bennie Ballou   Background Vocals
Angela Clemmons   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Bakithi Kumalo   Bass,Fretless Bass Guitar
T-Bone Wolk   Accordion

Technical Credits

Laurie Anderson   Producer,drum programming,Percussion Programming
Peter Laurence Gordon   Composer
Arto Lindsay   Producer,Contributor
Joey Baron   Contributor
Josh Abbey   Engineer
Scott Ansell   Engineer
Roma Baran   Producer
Jimmy Bralower   Programming,drum programming
James Farber   Engineer
Mike Krowiak   Engineer
Jeff Lippay   Engineer
Francis Manzella   Engineer
Roger Moutenot   Engineer
Leon Pendarvis   Producer,Contributor,drum programming
Lenny Pickett   Horn Arrangements
Malcolm Pollack   Engineer
Ian Ritchie   Contributor
Peter Scherer   Producer,drum programming
Mike Thorne   Producer,Contributor,Percussion Programming
Dominick Maita   Engineer
Eric Liljestrand   Programming,Engineer,drum programming
Ian Linault   Contributor
Ian Ritchi   Producer,Percussion Programming
Tom Size   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Strange Angels 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Alan_Schmalan More than 1 year ago
The haunting strains of "Coolsville," the evil staccatos of "The Day the Devil" and the calypso laughter of "Babydoll" are just portions of this album that make it among my favorite desert island choices. Laurie Anderson is a performance goddess of sorts, in that she gets to do what she wants to do and the results are so filled with blended amusement, wit, and beauty, that they compel her audience to think more deeply. This album, I believe, is her best effort to reveal that she is a singer, too, and she excels on a regular basis throughout.