Ethel Loves StreisBAND


The Ethel Mermaids were very excited to read a much shared ad earlier this year recruiting a drummer for a Barbra Streisand metal covers band. StreisBAND has now found its drummers (several for gigs in different countries) and has recorded an album. You can buy it from the StreisBAND Web page and for a limited period can get a StreisBAND t-shirt thrown in to boot. StreisBAND is the brainchild of artist Stephen Crowe, so always promised to be rather marvellous. We cannot wait to attend a gig.

The cover of Woman in Love got me thinking. I had read a few years ago that Babs didn’t like that song and never wanted to record it. When we saw her in concert she did an abridged version of WiL, prefacing it with an explanation as to why she never had sung it in her concerts before. She said she didn’t agree with the lyrics, that it was an ‘interesting time for women’ when she recorded the song. Presumably referring to women’s lib, it seems that her objections as a feminist are that the rights she’d like to defend over and over again are not to get a man into her world and hold him within. However, when she went on to sing My Man later on in the show with no critique of those lyrics, we couldn’t help but feel that Babs was a bit of a fickle fish… Perhaps we should give her a break though: My Man – despite its terrible victim lyric – is an amazing belter and one of her best songs. We adore it. Plus she was putting WiL in a particular historical, social and political context which lends support to her reasoning.

I LOVE Woman in Love. It’s one of my absolute fave Babs songs – perhaps top 3. It’s my ringtone because its slinky intro is perfect and I can’t imagine many people have used the song as such. I will defend my right to love Woman in Love over and over again. However, thinking about Babs, her discussion of the song and StreisBand’s cover, it suddenly occurred to me – just because Babs is straight and so singing it as a woman addressing a man doesn’t mean the song necessarily has to be read as straight. What if the woman in the song is a woman in love with a woman? What if the right she will defend over and over again is actually the right to love a woman? This would make sense in terms of gay lib if she wants to talk historical context. If there was a simple way to contact Babs and tell her of my thoughts on the song, I would. But she’s a hard celeb to reach. You can’t even msg her facebook page. Perhaps she’ll Google herself and come across our blog post. Yes. That’s what will happen. So Ms Streisand? Whaddaya think of my theory?

(Ms Streisand can contact Corinna ‘Merms’ Tomrley via The Ethel’s email: Ms Streisand can also ‘like’ the Ethel’s facebook page:; and follow them on Twitter: @Ethelsmermaids)

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