If you don’t know the story of June Millington, you should. Start with her Wikipedia entry, and then move on to Ann Powers’s piece on and interview with Millington from 2015. Short version: founder of groundbreaking all-female rock band Fanny in the early ’70s, then went on to be a pivotal figure (mostly behind the scenes, playing and producing) in women’s music in the late ’70s and early ’80s, producing a myriad of albums for the likes of giants such as Cris Williamson, Holly Near, and Tret Fure, making her own music all along the way to this day.
1981’s Heartsong, Millington’s first true solo album, was recorded in San Francisco and released on her own Fabulous Records imprint through the women’s music label, Olivia Records. The album, like most Olivia (and Olivia-adjacent) projects, was made entirely by women: playing, singing, writing, mixing, engineering, producing, all of it. Some major figures in the world of women’s music appear on the album, including Fure, Linda Tillery, and Mary Watkins; additionally, a then-unknown Oakland drummer by the name of Sheila Escovedo drums on a number of tracks. Stylistically, Heartsong covers a fair bit of pop-rock ground of its time, but the standout for me is its opening track, “When Wrong Is Right.” Millington sings of a relationship gone awry with a musical accompaniment that can only, really, be called Yacht Rock. “Wrong” is a smooth song with a pronounced bounce (bass courtesy of Carrie Barton, who went on to spend the ’80s playing on records by nearly all of the luminaries of women’s music) and just enough funk to keep things from getting too bland, with a great guitar solo to boot, played by either Millington or Fure (the credits are unclear, but both are formidable guitar slingers). And if you’d like to check out the entirety of Heartsong (not on streaming services), here’s a YouTube link for side one; side two will play subsequently. Highly recommended.