A whirlwind tour through three decades of mostly lesbian-targeted, folk-rocking “womyn’s music” in the U.S., Dee Mosbacher’s “Radical Harmonies” is entertaining on its own terms, but offers little for those not already well-acquainted with this musical scene. Gay fest play aside, feature looks to find its principal aud via home-format sales.
A natural extension of Gay and Women’s Lib currents in the early ’70s, as well as prior decade’s counterculture adoption of traditional folk sounds, the women’s music milieu primarily showcased lesbian singer-songwriters for lesbian audiences. This alternative to “cock rock culture” soon grew to encompass women-owned labels (most notably the Olivia collective, and Holly Near’s Redwood Records), training female tech crew, and mounting numerous festivals (some still extant). Initial domination of white folk-rockers was later broadened by multicultural jazz, soul, and punk-rock units. Vast array of interviews and vintage vidclips spotlighting faves old (Cris Williamson, Meg Christian) and new (Indigo Girls, et al.) is fascinating but fragmentary, with nary a song-length snippet amid overcompacted progress that spends too much time in the ’70s. Results will most please fans who need little introduction to the players. Tech package is well-turned.