Northettes, We Love You!

The Northettes
The Northettes as they appear in the sleeve of Hatfield and the North (1974)

The Northettes were a vocal trio made up of Amanda Parsons, Barbara Gaskin and Ann Rosenthal. Although they are most famous for contributing to Hatfield and the North’s two studio albums, the first released in January 1974, the girls had sung together in 1971/72 in Dave Stewart & Chris Cutler led Ottawa Music Company which, sadly, left no recorded legacy. Between the Hatfields two albums, they also sang on Egg’s 1974 album The Civil Surface. Amanda also sang with the band Gilgamesh and, after the Hatfields broke up, went on to sing with the earlier line-ups of National Health and also appeared in Bruford while Barbara Gaskin (after coming back to England after a long trip to Asia) also sang in various musical projects like Red Roll On, Bruford and National Health.

The sound of The Northettes has been described as heavenly and angelic; voices that can lift the spirit and soothe the soul. Their harmonies certainly added new dimension to the music of the Hatfields. Their singing on top of the jazz-tinged progressive rock that the band played was unlike anything ever recorded before and still sounds fresh and unique today. For those who have not yet had the pleasure of hearing them, here’s Lobster in Cleavage Probe from Hatfield and the North’s debut, courtesty of Grooveshark.

Lobster In Cleavage Probe by Hatfield and the North on Grooveshark

Fans of the Northettes may wonder; what happened to them? Where are they now? Many will be familiar with Barbara Gaskin’s musical and romantic partnership with Dave Stewart which has lasted to this day, but the fates of Amanda Parsons and Ann Rosenthal are a bit more mysterious. In an interview with Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin on Progressive Ears, Dave was able to shed some light on the mystery.

 

PE:Whatever became of the other Northettes?

DS: After leaving National Health Amanda got a job in television and is now married with two grown-up children – she isn’t actively involved in music as far as I know. Ann Rosenthal sent us a nice message recently containing this update: “I live in rural Shropshire, work as a Business Analyst, keep chickens, am both a qualified gardener and management consultant (confused?) and am passionate about hill walking and climbing mountains. Love Annie.”

 

Source : Progressive Ears

It seems neither Amanda or Ann continued their musical careers which makes me wonder if they’re aware of the way their musical contributions continue to touch the hearts and minds of people today, old fans and new. So, on the chance they might read this, I would like to say on behalf of myself, the site and the rest of the fans of Hatfield and the North whom I’m sure would agree with me when I write :

Amanda, Barbara and Ann – we love you!

13 thoughts on “Northettes, We Love You!”

  1. Could add for those interested that Amanda Parsons also sang on Alan Gowen’s band Gilgamesh’s debut album which was produced by Dave Stewart and was released in 1975!

  2. You’re welcome, and thanks for the great article. As for Thibault, I hunted that album quite a while, too, and it’s a strange and beautiful recording. Sadly without lyrics, but definitely one of Amanda’s more notable appearances.

  3. IMO National Health were never as good after Amanda left. Her wonderful voice added that extra ‘something’ to their music.

  4. Thanks for the heads up on Amanda’s other work, I will track it down. Yes she has a wonderful voice and it is a pity that she made the decision to move out of the music scene, and I agree the Hadfield’s and Health would have been different bands without her contribution.

  5. I have no other info to add…just wanted to share my love for the amazing singing of these ladies…absolutely incredible…wish they would’ve done a few records as an autonomous unit…if any of you girls see this, please know your work is stellar and appreciated

  6. Amanda is just my female favorite singer. And the Clock and Clouds is one of my favorite songs I’ve ever heard. Love from Russia.

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