Monday, April 09, 2012

From My Collection: Dreamboat Annie

By Richard K. Barry

Dreamboat Annie was Heart's debut album with a release date of February 14, 1976. That pretty much puts it in the wheelhouse of my musical coming of age, which means I was 17 at the time. In my memory, Heart was what music was all about in the mid-70's.

The hard rock, heavy metal and folk influences were clear. It seems you had to be able to bounce between these genre to be popular among certain kinds of music fans. In my circle that meant faux cerebral, dorky kids. We all loved Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Rick Wakeman, The Alan Parson's Project, and Yes - groups like that. I always think of Yes and their song "And You and I" as a part of this with that incredible 12 string acoustic guitar riff before the hard rock part.

You can be fairly sure an album fits into this class if it has a "reprise" on it.

And if you don't believe there were folk influences in Heart's music, listen for the banjo part in the title track, "Dreamboat Annie." Don't you know? Banjo = folk music.

Heart had its origins around the Seattle area in the 60's and 70's. The only constant members of the group were sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson. What I didn't realize was that, as a result of a band member going to Canada to avoid the draft, and others following, Heart had their first real success in Canada. This is what happens to bands deemed "Canadian" by the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). It basically means it's easier for them to get airplay on Canadian radio and maybe launch a career. It's called "Canadian content" - a long story, and somewhat controversial in Canadian cultural politics, but I can't go into it here. The link will tell you all about it, if you really need to know.

As far as I remember, Heart was always associated with the Wilson sisters, but there is a long and complicated band history, involving lots of other people, if you want to refer to the Wiki.

As I write these posts, I always have the album on in the background. It's a great recording. If you haven't dusted it off in a while, give it a whirl (or whatever the digitized equivalent would be).

Album tracks are:

Side One:
Magic Man (Ann and Nancy Wilson)
Dreamboat Annie - Fantasy Child (Ann and Nancy Wilson)
Crazy on You ( Ann and Nancy Wilson)
Soul of the Sea (Ann and Nancy Wilson)
Dreamboat Annie (Ann and Nancy Wilson)

Side Two:
White Lightening and Wine (Ann and Nancy Wilson)
I'll Be Your Song (Ann and Nancy Wilson)
Sing Child (Wilson, Wilson, Fossen and Fisher)
How Deep It Goes (Ann Wilson)
Dreamboat Annie - Reprise (Ann and Nancy Wilson)

Musician Credits:
Lead Vocals - Ann Wilson
Acoustic Guitar - Nancy Wilson
Flute - Ann Wilson
Piano - Rob Deans
Bass - Steve Fossen
Drums - Kat Hendrikse
Banjo - Geoff Foubert
Backing Vocals - Nancy Wilson, Geoff Foubert, Tessie Bensussen and Jim Hall
Orchestral Arrangements - Howard Leese and Rob Deans
Tympani - Mike Flicker

The title track is great, but I'm going with my favourite, "Magic Man."


(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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