Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 11:11AM
Would you believe that part one of this review got nearly a thousand views yesterday? I have never had this much reaction from a simple review in my decades (yeah, I'm old) of covering music this way. In the 12 noon hour we had 255 visits to the review alone! Why? Some might say that it could have something to do with today being Ann Wilson's birthday? I don't think so. It's freakin' Heart! This band resonates with people like no other. Why not? Two women that are as talented as they are stunningly beautiful (even on their 62nd birthday). They never dumb it down in hopes the mainstream public can handle them either. Because they have stayed true as artists, a collection like this is best consumed like a fine wine (or for me a craft beer) and a perfectly cooked steak. This is what happens when an artist stays true to their art for half a century.
So on to my review of disc one of this awesome collection! One of the things that amazes me about this collection is the demo tracks. Most of the time when I see demo tracks in a collection like this I find it interesting to hear a part of the history of how some legendary song developed, but it's never something I listen to over and over again. It's never as good as that final version, right? Not here! The demo tracks here are as good as the final versions. In fact there are songs on here like "Crazy On You" that I think are better than the versions we are more familiar with! The more well known version is so full of slick production that after hearing the demo it feels like the spirit and passion of the song was produced out of it. The demo version now comes off as more personal and intimate. With the demo version of "Magic Man" I was left feeling like I was hearing the song for the first time all over again. Demo's? WRONG! These are not demos! These versions just leave the artists soul bare and naked and creates more of a spiritual journey. Yes, it is THAT good! You really need to hear these so called demos to understand.
The infamous "Dreamboat Annie" is an very strange and unique mash up of some kind. To be honest I am not really sure what they did here but I do know I love it. The liner notes say that it is two (sounds like three) versions blended as one. Not sure I have ever heard a band do this before, but it works extremely well here. Of course they picked a live recording of their most covered song "Barracuda", because this is where this song comes alive. The recording is stellar and sounds best on a good pair of headphones. Although I am sure young female artists like Amanda Hardy are plagued with requests to play "Barracuda", I would like to hear her and her band play "Kick It Out" instead. "Straight On" is the one track I find entertaining for all the wrong reasons. Disco? Ok, even Heart has a mistake in their past, but they get cred for not trying to hide it. Song after song also reminds me of how many Heart songs I already love! "Dog & Butterfly" for example. If you walked up randomly to someone with a Heart shirt and asked them to name their top ten Heart songs, I am willing to bet very few would name "Dog & Butterfly", but that song is more amazing than many of their more popular songs. Collections like this are great for three reasons. 1. To re-visit your favorites 2. To rediscover that you love ten times more songs from a legendary band than you thought("they sing that song too!?"). 3. To discover new favorites like "Nada One". Disc one kicks this collection of to a great start and turned out way better than most will expect.
I hope you all are enjoying this week long detailed review of this great new Box Set as much as I am enjoying the adventure. Stay tuned to tomarrow as I dig into the 2nd disc!
For part one where I talk in depth about the packaging and art work go to:
For part 3 where I talk about disc 2 go to :