By Dale Nickey:
Kate Bush (The Kick Inside)
Until Kate came along, you had to make do with archetypical female Rock artists. Janis Joplin was the unapologetically loud, horny, stoned, soul mama. Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro gave us our liberated, erudite, (Dylan with a vagina) fix. However, if a woman was too smokin’ hot, they were automatically relegated to the vacuous show-biz preserve where the Olivia Newton Johns and Juice Newtons reigned supreme. Kate took a mortar and pestle and mashed up all the stereotypes. She had a music geek’s appreciation for prog and an ethnomusicologist’s ear for British Folk. On ‘Kick’ she took her Minnie Mouse soprano, formidable piano chops and applied them to subjects as diverse as menstrual cycles, suicide, incest, Lolita complexes and ghosts. She sang, wrote, played, danced and had an entire nation salivating at her teen feet. After one jaw dropping European Tour, she walked out of the machinery and opted for quiet domesticity and the occasional block buster album. ”The Kick Inside” is her first and best. Kate denies it because it was the album she had least control of. But, it will always remain her masterpiece. Every song is eye-watering, and wrapped in a package that launched a million masturbatory fantasies.
Kateophiles admire Bush’s alpha-fem independant streak as much as they do her music. EMI’s good old boys thought they knew better when it came time to select a single off her first album. Kate would not be bullied and held out for “Wuthering Heights.” It went number one and and stayed there for six weeks. On this performance from her only live tour, she inhabits the spirit of Cathy Earnshaw to a degree that is chilling and thrilling.