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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Heart

Bebe Le Strange (Remaster)

Review by Gary Hill

Bebe Le Strange found Heart moving between musical styles and eras. While it showed off plenty of the seventies influences that had made up the band's catalog to this point, it found more aggressive and faster playing and even some punk rock influences showing up. This was a strong, if rather under-appreciated disc. While not every song is a killer, there are no real dogs here, either. If you haven't yet given this one a shot, the newly expanded and remastered edition is a great opportunity to catch up.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Bebe Le Strange
A great bass driven rhythm starts this one, and it quickly evolves into a very strong hard rocker. This has just enough of the quirkiness that Heart has always had, giving it a nice flavor.
Down On Me
Although it thunders in, this drops to a slow, fairly mellow blues grind. The chorus though, is a lush Zeppelin-like jam that works well.
Silver Wheels
This is a short and pretty acoustic guitar solo.
Break
This is one of the most straightforward and energetic cuts the band ever did and features a screaming guitar solo.
Rockin' Heaven Down
Starting as a mellow rocker with a bit of crunch and a killer vocal performance, this transforms to another scorching rocker after the first verse. It has a very cool arrangement moving between mellow and harder sections throughout.
Even It Up
This one is a rather cool rocker, but feels a bit too much like the title track at times. Still the horn section and smoking guitar solo are awesome.
Strange Night
This straight-ahead, yet quirky rocker doesn't wander far from the tree, but is very effective, nonetheless.
Raised On You
Starting with piano, this feels at first more like early Billy Joel than Heart. Still, as the guitars join in this becomes more of a rocker. It's definitely not one of their best, but it has its moments, especially as the arrangement turns more proggy later. It's another with some smoking guitar sounds.
Pilot
This feels almost like Heart does The Eagles in terms of the song structure. It's a mid-tempo, somewhat mellower piece. As it carries forward the arrangement takes on progish qualities, and there are some very cool layers of sound in the chorus.
Sweet Darlin'
A piano and vocal balladic arrangement begins this. It carries in this fashion for quite a while, then the band up the ante with the other instruments, but even then, this is one of the most prog-oriented cuts the band ever did. It is a very strong track, and one of the highlights of the disc.
Jackleg Man - Bonus Track
This hard rocker feels like one part Zep, one part punk rock. It's all smoker and the vocal line is a real screamer.
Break (Live) - Bonus Track
This live rendition of the track from earlier on the CD is a killer hard rocking jam. It is definitely a strong way to end the disc.
 
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