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Heart's strongest major label album of the seventies,
This review is from: Dog & Butterfly (Audio CD)
Dog And Butterfly (1978.) Heart's fourth album.
Heart had already begun to prove themselves to the musical world in the late eighties. Hard to believe, a band that went nearly a decade with zero popularity had almost instantaneously started climbing the charts. In just a few short years, Heart had gone from an indie label to a major one, and had become one of America's most beloved rock and roll bands of the day. To the time, Heart had released three albums - 1976's Dreamboat Annie, 1977's Little Queen, and 1978's Magazine. Later in 1978, the group recorded and released their fourth album, Dog And Butterfly. How does this release measure up? Read on for my review.
On this album, Heart takes on a more gritty, down-to-earth hard blues rock sound. The latter songs on the band's previous albun, Magazine, hinted at the band's blues rock roots, and here they give us almost an entire album's worth of tunes that fall into that category. The band's attempt at this style is excellent. One interesting thing the band did to start off the album was to use a live track. Cook With Fire, the first song on the album, was recorded live in Memphis, and it makes for white the attention getter. It's gritty bluesy rock the way it was meant to be heard. High Time, the next track on the album, is another rocker, but it's got a slightly poppy sound to it. It's not unlike Kick It Out from their Little Queen album. Hijinx is one of the most bluesy songs on the album (it's more of a blues song than a rock song), and it's one of my favorites. Straight On was the big hit from the album, and no track really depicts this era of the band better than this song does. It's only natural this masterpiece became such a hit. Nancy's guitar in this song, particuarly in the chorus, really must be heard to be appreciated. Next up we have the title track. This is an acoustic, slow-paced ballad. Prior to their Heart days, Ann and Nancy Wilson played in a folk-oriented rock band, and this is a song that excellently depicts that side of the band. Lighter Touch is one of the more interesting songs featured on the album - it's the happy medium between a rocker from Heart and seventies singer-songwriter pop. Another track you've gotta hear to appreciate. Nada One is another acoustic track, which is pretty similar to the title track. Of course, being similar to the title track, in this case, is a GOOD thing - people tend to overlook the band's acoustic work. Closing out the album is Mistral Wind. Many rock styles are fused on this track, making it a rather interesting closer. The first two minutes or so are acoustic and folksy, but after that it becomes a straight-up rocker. Nancy even serves up some riffs that sound like they'd be more at home in an eighties heavy metal composition! The hard rock continues through the rest of the track, until it shifts back to acoustics for one minute. This track closes the album out excellently. In the end, this is a great album - one of my favorites from the band.
Three of Heart's classic Portrait albums - Little Queen, Dog And Butterfly, and Bebe Le Strange, all got remastering treatment. The remasters even feature track-by-track commentary, expanded liner notes, and of course, bonus tracks. For bonus tracks you get demos, unreleased studio outtakes, live versions, and all sorts of other cool songs. Record companies take note - THIS is how you do remasters! It's just a shame the band's other albums aren't likely to get the same treatment.
Dog And Butterfly is a masterpiece of rock and roll. Heart's last release of the seventies has truly stood the test of time. Although this isn't an album I'd recommend to a new fan of the band (start with Dreamboat Annie), it's still a masterpiece (although you'll appreciate it more if you hear Dreamboat Annie and Little Queen first.) If you're a fan of Heart, do not hesitate to add this album to your collection - it's a worthwhile masterpiece.