a l b u m r e v i e w s


KING OF HEARTS / 1989
LABEL: COOL SOUND JAPAN COOL-029
OVERALL: 84%
Produced by: David Cole & Bruce Gaitsch
  1. Working man
  2. In So Many Words
  3. Don't Call My Name
  4. Smack Dab
  5. Remember When
  6. Hold On To Love
  7. Under The Gun
  8. Lovin' Arms
  9. Was It Good For You
  10. Everyday
  11. King Of Hearts
King Of Hearts were a band project put together many moons ago by Richard Marx band members and session players Bruce Gaitsch on guitars and George Hawkins on bass.
The guys were then joined by the awesome duo of Night Ranger's Kelly Keagy on drums and Tommy Funderburk on vocals.
The guys recorded an album, which turns out to be the very one we are talking about here, plus a stack of other tracks. Unfortunately, fate was not kind and the album was never released.
But it was picked up by the Westcoast label in the early to mid 90's, re-mixed from it's original form and released as the self titled King Of Hearts album.
The album saw a few new tunes added, a few rockier more AOR numbers left off and saw the raw live feel mixed out of it completely.
It was a very smooth, very soft, but still very good Westcoast style album.
The second album saw more tracks from the sessions used and again a few new tracks added.
The credits pointed to Kelly Keagy and Tommy as only guests.
Well, finally the injustices have been corrected and King Of Hearts 1989 is the original album, presented in it's intended form. That means all four guys are credited as a band and participate on all tracks.
Guests credited on this album include CJ Vanston, Bill Champlin and Timothy Schmit. The lead vocals swap around a bit and it is great to hear Kelly Keagy sing lead on two tracks. The mix is also a lot more AOR than westcoast, with more guitar and an overall rawer feel easily detectable. The album is a mix of pure smooth and laid back westcoast with some more guitar driven pure rock.
Either way the band provide some of the best quality songs available. Pretty much as one would expect given the caliber of the guys involved.
If you own either or both the other two King Of Hearts releases then this improves on them both and should be added to your collection.
Tracks like Working Man, Don't Call My Name, Lovin' Arms and Smack Dab are some of the best examples of pure American FM rock you could find.
If you are yet to hear the guys - this is great Westcoast AOR and fans of Richard Marx, Kelly Keagy / Night Ranger (soft style) and Tommy Funderburk will all find something worthwhile in 1989.
PRODUCTION: 78%SONGS: 86%VIBE: 85%ATTITUDE: 84%
ESSENTIAL FOR: All Westcoast and smooth AOR fans, most Richard Marx & Kelly Keagy fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:King Of Hearts . Midnight Crossing . 1989

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