"The Strange Case of Ms. Hyde & Dr. Jekyll"

"The Strange Case of Ms. Hyde & Dr. Jekyll." "We once again dared to go looking for 'the voice,' finding it hiding out in the silver throat of Jane Brody, though she proved to be the most reluctant of all the ladies to convince to give OHO a nod. In fact it took about 7 years and a little cash to motivate her to sing 6 songs for us before she moved to the San Francisco Bay area of California in 2000. 

The Village Voice: “Her flying spirit (is) anchored by a thrilling, strong voice and clear mind. Jane is on a wild pop ride.” 

Her Celtic bent was perfect for the material we were recording, at least as regards her vocal compatibility with our music. She also played keyboards and guitar and was generally very musical, writing and arranging her own songs. Waterboy, Mike Scott, on each of whose 1997 stateside tour dates Jane performed an opening set, referred to Ms. Brody's songs as 'brilliant music from a sexy, sultry, dreamtime...coooool.' Jane was another unusual, colorful personality, spinning out of the OHO singer, revolving door.

The band courted her early on in late 1990. David had (and still has) this habit of approaching strangers and asking them if they sing. We noticed this striking red haired woman at a Don Dixon concert we were attending. He popped the question. His intuition proved to be on target and we engaged her in a conversation. Turned out she was familiar with us. 

We rehearsed. There was great promise. We liked her material and were enthusiastic about integrating it with our own. She met with our attorney. There was this, then that, ad infinitum and ad nauseam. I was looking at my watch and mumbling something about delay and the seemingly endless minutiae that had to be dealt with. We had an answer for every question until there was nothing left for her to ask. It was time to cut the corn. 

Something was holding her back. My hunch was that she was uncompromising concerning her own career. A distraction of this magnitude would cut into her time significantly, requiring her to divert some of her attention from something she was convinced of to something uncertain. Or maybe she could sense disaster ahead, wisely choosing to let the cup pass by. It is a crucifixion, you know. This is my theory, which is mine, which belongs to me. 

Being in OHO was no picnic (just ask ex-manager, Bob Phillips). We were wounded, doubled over in a denied grief. Was the dream really over? This seemed a desperate time for the band. One had to be ready for a robust confrontation at any moment. I’m certain Jane sensed this and I understood her ambivalence, unacceptable as it was to me at the time. But this was not about me. I can imagine how difficult the prospect must have seemed to one appearing to be a gentle soul. 

Of course, I would not let it end there. Jane gave singing lessons and I signed up, incorrectly figuring I could coax her into the band over time. At worst I would be a better vocalist as there was a good chance that I might really have to sing my own songs. Her communication before this was mostly in a politely ambiguous language of sighs. At least now I was hearing her “NO!” loud and clear. I had to be certain, though. She was THAT good. By then Mary O’Connor had joined and I discontinued Jane’s tutelage attending to the challenges of the era that followed. 

Sometimes years will go by before another specific intuition reveals itself as a possible solution to an unresolved problem. If I can, I will finish what I began. When one works in the “pastpresenture,” time is not a big concern. 

Another Guitar Craft aphorism reads, “Let us embrace our mistakes as friends and teachers.” I continue to work in this way, trusting my intuitions. I have been both surprised and disappointed although with few regrets. 

Anyway, before she moved west Jane agreed to sing 6 OHO songs for hire, on a pay as you go basis. This arrangement seemed to work well, very clean. There were no commitment issues and all we really wanted were vocal tracks that we hoped would bring a positive response from the world on some level. I think we achieved that aim. 

OHO’s “It Will Not Be Late” featured Jane’s vocals and the soaring fiddle work of Sue Tice, another talented woman. The band won the Sheffield Studio “Career in the Recording Arts” contest in 2001. This netted the band a trio of wonderful prizes, including hours of 24-track time at Sheffield’s state of the art studio, a slot opening for Joan Jett at the Maryland State Fair, and a quality microphone. We still had our mojo working. Jane is featured on the first 3 songs of 'UP' and on 5 selections on 'Bricolage.'"
Ms. Hyde (or Ursula) (Soul-revealing photography by Jay Graboski)
Dr. Jekyll (or the little mermaid)

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