Ulrich, Shari - 1982 Talk Around Town

richardbrichardb Poole, Dorset


ARTIST: Ulrich, Shari
ALBUM: Talk Around Town
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Shari Ulrich - lead and backing vocals * Bill Henderson, Marty Walsh - guitars * Nathan East, Mark Leonard - bass, bass synthesizer * Mike Baird - drums * Robbie Buchanan, David Picknell, Michael Kalanj - keyboards * Jane Mortifee, Nancy Nash, Mary Saxton, Roy Forbes - backing vocals * Jim Rothermal - alto and tenor sax

TRACK LISTING: 01 You're Making Me Nervous * 02 The One And Only * 03 Mad Money * 04 I'm Not The One * 05 Through These Eyes * 06 I Don't Want To Talk About It * 07 With Or Without You * 08 You're Not So Innocent * 09 Love Turns To Ice * 10 Talk Around Town


Born in California, multi-instrumentalist Shari Ulrich grew up in an environment where music was very much 'in the blood'.

As a teenager, she eventually defected to Canada (much like Holly Woods) to seek her fame and fortune in the music industry.

Once she arrived in Canada, Ulrich started to cut her teeth performing in the coffeehouse circuit around Vancouver in the early 1970's. She then went on to form a folk trio (the Pied Pumkin String Ensemble) with Joe Mock and Rick Scott, before eventually going solo.

Her musical background is therefore not one you would consider the usual tried and tested route into the melodic rock genre

The Songs

Well I always say if you're going to make a play for being FM radio friendly, it's a good idea to employ a crack team of seasoned veterans.

It was therefore a sensible move to get backing from some of the LA sessions scene's finest. AOR luminaries like Mike Baird (Airborne), Robbie Buchanan (Maxus) and Bill Henderson (Chilliwack) are names that should be well known to readers of this site.

However, the supporting cast weren't there just to gloss over her shortcomings in the studio. Shari Ulrich was a fine singer - a natural for the FM radio rock genre in fact.

She was able to switch with ease from expressive, mannered vocals reminiscent of Lisa Dalbello, to an emotive pure vocal style similar to Teri De Sario.

Shari's mannered vocals on the quirky opener 'You're Making Me Nervous' are reminiscent of Lisa Dalbello in her more mainstream moments. Its new wave tendencies give a passing nod to Spider, though it's by no means typical of the material on offer.

'The One And Only' slips into a more conventional radio rock groove, though packs guitar firepower, courtesy of Messrs Henderson and Marty Walsh (Supertramp).

'Mad Money' manages to be both highly atmospheric and hard hitting and gives Robbie Buchanan a chance to shine.

'I'm Not The One' is a power ballad par excellence, topped by Shari's impassioned and plaintive vocal delivery - definitely one for fans of Teri DeSario.

Side one closes with the synth heavy, strident rhythms of 'Through These Eyes'.

Side two opens with the twin guitars of Bill Henderson and Marty Walsh riffing on 'I Don't Wanna Talk About It' It's a powerful rocker and a tantalising glimpse of what Shari Ulrich might have sounded like pursuing a heavier direction.

'With Or Without You' is not the U2 of the same name (fortunately..). Yes it's another emotive ballad, however it's never wimpy thanks to the aforementioned dual guitar crunch factor and it's embellished by some deft sax touches from Jim Rothermal.

'You're Not So Innocent' with its infectious chorus is probably my favourite track on the album. It's a typical tale of a young femme fatale, though it's sung from a woman's perspective. This makes it a refreshing change, from the usual sleazy lyrical antics of David Coverdale and his ilk.

The album closes in fine style with the energetic, upbeat 'Talk Around Town' which reminds me of a poppier version of Storm.

In Summary

Shari continues to perform solo today (often with her daughter Julia Graff on violin, piano, mandolin, guitar, accordion and vocals) and she occasionally tours with the Pied Pumkin, UHF, BTU and bluegrass group The High Bar Gang.

Unfortunately, this particular chapter in her musical career appears to have been airbrushed from history (there's only a passing mention to her 80's solo career on her site).

I'm uncertain what prompted this brief flirtation with AOR, however from my perspective, some 30 + years later 'Talk Around Town' her third solo album, stands proud in my collection and is one I blast out on a regular basis.

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