HEART – Dreamboat Annie [Japan SHM-CD remastered]
As part of the Universal Japan reissue campaign of various ’80s Rock artists / albums from their back catalog on SHM-CD, all remastered and with reduced price, among the artists included there’s HEART.
Here’s the requested “Dreamboat Annie“, the debut album by Heart regarded by first time fans as their best.
Three of the songs turned hit singles which became staples on FM radio; “Crazy On You”, “Magic Man” and the title track. All classics.
Produced by Mike Flicker, the album has a simple and direct sound that accentuates the rock dynamics within the instruments and vocals.
The record blasts out of the gate with the popular rocker “Magic Man” with a rocking beat which provides the perfect backdrop for Ann Wilson’s voice. The song contains a long mid-section with extended leads by guitarist Roger Fisher and keyboardist Howard Leese in turn, giving it a more “epic” feel beyond its melodic hook in the verse and chorus.
This “epic” or “concept” structure is extended to the album itself with three different versions of the title song “Dreamboat Annie”. However, only the version which closes side one acts as true song, a fast picked acoustic song with layered harmonies.
Probably the best song that Heart would ever record, “Crazy On You” is an absolute gem which employs all the elements that make a great rock song. It has a finger-picked acoustic intro which highlights the skills of Nancy Wilson, divergent instrumentation throughout as the acoustic makes a soft bed for the dynamic electric guitars to pierce through melodically, a killer riff & hook, beautiful interludes, and a sense of mystique brought out by the chord arrangements. Once again, the dynamic and emotional vocals of Ann Wilson push the song over the top.
There is a lot to like about the album, especially when you explore some of the lesser known songs. “Soul Of The Sea” is a nice guitar ballad with layered strings which contrasts with “White Lightning and Wine”, a pure, bluesy rocker, driven by the rhythm of Steve Fossen and the sultry vocals of Wilson.
“(Love Me Like Music) I’ll Be Your Song” features strummed acoustic by Nancy Wilson and some nice slide guitar by Leese, making the vibe almost country in ways, while another acoustic ballad “How Deep It Goes” features nice bass flourishes, fine synths, and good harmonies.
“Sing Child” really presents early Heart as a true band as it includes a guitar solo and jam in the middle along with some Ian Anderson-like flute by Ann Wilson.
Heart would go on to produce more popular albums, especially as they morphed towards being a more melodic rock oriented band. But “Dreamboat Annie” displays them at their most innovative / talented and is a most impressive debut.
This remaster on SHM-CD sounds warm very close to a new, just pressed vinyl LP. This is a great opportunity to get these classic, must have albums on in HD quality for a regular price. Order now, all are limited edition.
UNIVERSAL MUSIC Japan ~ UICY-25529
01 – Magic Man
02 – Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child)
03 – Crazy On You
04 – Soul Of The Sea
05 – Dreamboat Annie
06 – White Lightning And Wine
07 – (Love Me Like Music) I’ll Be Your Song
08 – Sing Child
09 – How Deep It Goes
10 – Dreamboat Annie (Reprise)
Ann Wilson – vocals, flute
Nancy Wilson – vocals, guitar, piano
Roger Fisher – guitar
Steve Fossen – bass
Howard Leese – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Michael DeRosier, Kat Hendrikse – drums