Friday, December 3, 2010

Classic Album: Little Queen

Following the success of their debut album, Dreamboat Annie, in 1976, Heart soon began to acclaim for their brand of Led Zeppelin-like rock fused with folk, resulting in the hit singles Crazy on You and Magic Man. Once again reuniting with producer Mike Flicker, sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson returned to the studio to record their sophomore album, Little Queen, the following year. Unlike the music that they would produce in the late 1980s and early 1990s (such as These Dreams, Alone and All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You), Heart’s output during the 1970s was ahead of its time and gave their male counterparts a run for their money. The opening track, Barracuda, is perhaps one of their most famous tunes and the one that usually attracts the Led Zeppelin comparisons; with its gritty guitar riff and Ann Wilson’s high-pitched vocals. Written as a reaction to a publicity stunt that the band’s label, Mushroom Records, had attempted by publishing an article in a magazine which featured a picture of the the duo with the caption, “Heart’s Wilson Sisters Confess: “It Was Only Our First Time!”

In a dramatic change of pace, the second track on the album is an excellent acoustic number and one of Heart’s most overlooked songs, Love Alive. The acoustic vibe continues with the instrumental Sylvan Song, which features a combination of Nancy Wilson’s guitar and Roger Fisher’s Mandolin, before leading into another track called Dream of the Archer. After the rocking Kick It Out and the ’70s funk of Little Queen, the album returns to the acoustic sound with the ballads Treat Me Well and Go On Cry, which fail to live up to the beauty of Love Alive but still demonstrate the range of the band. The closing number, Go On Cry, has a dreamlike quality that brings the album to a suitable conclusion. By the early 1980s all but the Wilson sisters had left the band and Heart would be reinvented as a power ballad group, never achieving the heights that they reached with their earlier work.


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