The Four Bitchin' Babes is a group of female singer-songwriters with rotating membership, performing mainly humorous, satirical or light-hearted songs in the folk genre. The group was described as "slyly outre" writing songs about the "humorous satire of everyday life" with an "inherent charm" ranging from "sentimental to lusty, spiritual to hysterical". The artists have made numerous albums and have worked with Celine Dion's producer Jeff Bova. Followers of the band have been termed Babeophiles.
The band was founded in 1990 by Christine Lavin, described by the Boston Globe in 2010 as a "folkie's folkie". After the success of a compilation album she produced, On a Winter's Night, she put together a road show of artists who appeared on the album: herself, Patty Larkin, Chicago native Megon McDonough, and Sally Fingerett. The foursome toured throughout the United States, after which Lavin decided to create a live album of their performance at The Birchmere. This album, Buy Me, Bring Me, Take Me, Don't Mess My Hair: Life According to Four Bitchin' Babes Volume I was released on Philo/Rounder Records in 1990.
After the release of Buy Me, Bring Me, Take Me..., Larkin was signed by Windham Hill Records, and left the band. She was replaced by Julie Gold, best known for writing the song "From a Distance". The group now known as Four Bitchin' Babes continued to tour, and released their second album, Buy Me, Bring Me, Take Me, Don't Mess My Hair: Life According to Four Bitchin' Babes Volume II in 1993. In the meantime, artists such as Cheryl Wheeler, Janis Ian, and Mary Travers would substitute in concert for band members who were unavailable. In 1994, Debi Smith replaced Julie Gold, and in 1995, Dan Green (Fingerett's husband at the time) produced the Babes' third album, Fax It, Charge It, Don't Ask Me What's For Dinner: More Life According To Four Bitchin' Babes on Shanachie Records. Fingerett's song Lovely Mistake was described as a "clear-eyed look at gaining wisdom set to a contemporary groove." Smith, in 1998, recorded a solo album entitled More Than Once, including her song Snowbound.
In 1997, Lavin, busy with other projects, chose Camille West to replace herself in the band, and the same year, the new lineup released another live album, Gabby Road: Out Of The Mouths Of Babes, also recorded at the Birchmere. In 2001, the band, still with the same membership, released a fifth album, The Babes: Beyond Bitchin', produced by Jeff Bova (also producer for Céline Dion, Billy Joel, and Madonna), in addition to a live concert DVD. Later that year, McDonough left the band to perform a one-woman show, and was replaced by Suzzy Roche, formerly of The Roches. In 2002, they released the album Some Assembly Required. McDonough, in an interview in the Chicago Tribune, saw parallels between her life and that of Patsy Cline, since both artists had young children, hard-working husbands, yet lived a life on the road. In 2004, both West and Roche left the group and were replaced by Nashville songwriter/singer Nancy Moran and comedic singer/songwriter/teacher Deirdre Flint. In 2006, they toured for their CD "Hormonal Imbalance: A Mood Swinging Musical Revue". As of 2009, the group is still touring, currently promoting their latest CD, "Diva Nation: Where Music, Laughter & Girlfriends Reign!", which was released in October 2009 and was produced by band members Sally Fingerett and Debi Smith (Hem and Haw Productions).
Typically, the Babes' albums consist of songs written by the individual members, all of whom have or have had solo careers as well. Songs appearing on their albums, such as "Microwave Life" (by McDonough), "B.O.B. (Battery-Operated Boyfriend)" and "L.A.F.F. (Ladies Against Fanny Floss)" (by West), and "Don't Mess With Me (I'm Somebody's Mother)" (by Fingerett), satirize modern life, especially from a mature female perspective.