Saturday Single No. 39

Originally posted November 3, 2007

I came across a reference to a band called Heartsfield a couple of months ago, and my first thought was, “That name sounds familiar – I should know something about that band.” But nothing came to mind.

So I played the mp3 posted on whatever blog it was, and I liked what I heard. It had the sense of country rock from the 1970s, a style that I clearly like, so I dug a little bit further into the band.

The members of Heartsfield came out of the Chicago area in the early 1970s, according to a site documenting the group’s career. All-Music Guide lists four albums from that era: Heartsfield from 1973, The Wonder Of It All from 1974, Foolish Pleasures from 1975 and Heartsfield Collectors Items (evidently not an anthology) from 1977. In 2000, there was a release of Live in 1975, and the group reformed for a new album, Rescue the Dog in 2001.

I haven’t listened to a lot of the group’s music although I might have heard some of it back in the mid-1970s. Maybe not, though. AMG notes that the group’s most recognizable tune from that era was “Music Eyes,” which hit No. 95 on the Billboard chart in 1974. That was pulled from the group’s first album, and the title rang no bells for me at all.

But I was intrigued by the one track I heard, so I dug a little further and learned that the track came from The Wonder Of It All. I shelled out a few bucks and bought the CD. Looking at the insert, the photos and credits brought no further recognition. But that’s really not all that surprising. Even during a time when I was paying close attention to new music, it was impossible to catch it all: there were so many bands during that that got contracts and a chance at the top.

Heartsfield had its chance, and – reading between the lines on the Heartsfield site, which appears to be a little out of date – still might play regular gigs (although it’s hard to say from the site how many of the group’s original members are still involved). All I know for sure about the group is the music on The Wonder Of It All, and if it isn’t always distinguished – and some of the tracks blend into what sounds to me like country rock clichés – it’s always pleasant. I’m sufficiently intrigued to have placed the other three 1970s albums on my hunting list. That’s going to mean finding a couple of LPs. (The Wonder Of It All is the only one of the 1970s albums to have been released on CD according to AMG although the fan site says that Foolish Pleasures also is out on CD. They’ve been released on the Bedrock label, which also released the live album and the 2001 reunion album.)

I haven’t really begun to hunt yet. There are other LPs I’ll look for first. But for the time being, I’ve got the 1974 album, which finds it way into the CD player from time to time. And I thought I’d share the track I like the best – “Shine On” – as today’s Saturday Single.

Heartsfield – “Shine On” [1974]

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