July 25, 1983 12:00 PM

Nona Hendryx

Raised in Trenton, N.J., Hendryx was part of the trio Labelle in the 70s and has written for or sung with such performers as Talking Heads and Garland Jeffreys. This, her second solo album, includes a standard selection of tunes that are heavy on rhythm and light on ideas. It also, however, includes two striking tracks. One, Design for Living, is performed by an all-star, all-female band. The styles are, to say the least, mixed. Tina Weymouth of the Heads is on bass, Nancy Wilson of Heart on guitar, Valerie Simpson (of Ashford and…) on piano, Laurie Anderson on violin and Gina Schock of the Go-Go’s on drums. The melody and lyrics wander in and out among Simpson’s R&B sounds, Anderson’s spacy digressions, Wilson’s chirpy little runs and Hendryx’s synthesizer figures. It’s like an academic exercise—how many musicians can boogie on the head of a needle?—but fascinating. The LP also offers an effectively teasy dance tune called Transformation. Hendryx’s voice is not the most distinctive instrument going, but she uses it to great advantage.

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