Kim Carnes – Cafe Racers   Leave a comment

For the follow up to Voyeur, Kim would work with Keith Olsen for the first time (he had worked with Fleetwood Mac on Tusk). Released in 1983 (Kim’s 5th album in as many years) it would not chart as high as it’s two predecessors attaining only a No. 97 placing on the US chart. Invisible Hands was it’s biggest hit reaching No. 40 in the US. The Universal Song, I Pretend and You Make My Heart Beat Faster would also be released as singles. Kim would be involved in writing only 5 of the LP’s songs. Kim is pictured on the cover on a vespa – not quite sure what a Cafe Racer is (any ideas ??), but it is a line from Track 5.

The opening track is very catchy with a more dance oriented synth beat and a great guitar solo by 80’s guitar maestro Steve Lukather ; also on guitar is Chas Sandford who appears a few times on this LP –  he would also write Talk To Me for Steve Nicks.The track was a co-write between Kim, Dave Ellingson and Martin Page and Brian Fairweather. Page & Fairweather would contribute to a further two tracks on the LP, and go on to write These Dreams for Heart. Catchy as the opener is, the chorus does get a bit repetitive. Next up is Young Love, featuring Lukather and Waddy Wachtel on guitar, with Mark Andes and Dennis Carmassi. Andes and Carmassi would in a couple of years become the rhythm section of a revitalised Heart. Met You At The Wrong Time Of My Life follows, which starts of with a very Foreigner like synth intro by Bill Cuomo, and has the first of three appearances by Sax stalwart Jerry Peterson. Hurricane picks up the pace a little bit, but for me doesn’t really go anywhere. Side One closer is The Universal Song which was released as a single reaching No. 40 in Netherlands.

Side Two starts us off with Invisible Hands which has hit written all over it, surprised it did not go higher ; again more dance oriented this Page / Fairweather track has a catchy chorus which Ms Carnes carries off well, I always enjoy this song. I Pretend is another Page / Fairweather song, a much slower mid tempo rocker – this song probably deserves a wider audience. Hanging On By A Thread is next up, a ballad featuring John Waite (later of Missing You fame) on backing vocals. This was the only Kim Carnes song on Cafe Racers that Kim wrote solely herself. A Kick In The Heart is a Mark Goldenberg song (he also worked with Wendy Waldman and Linda Ronstadt) although he didn’t play on it. In tempo this is more of a mid paced rocker, similar to I Pretend in feel. Finally the LP closes with perhaps it’s best known song – I’ll Be Here Where The Heart Is – featured on the Flashdance soundtrack  (which cements Kim Carnes’ part of the 80’s even more ! ). This is, one might argue the best track on the LP with a great chorus featuring backing from her husband Dave Ellingson and Daniel Moore (where was he in the rest of this recording – sadly absent). The track is a ballad with a synth beat in the background, and Waddy Wachtel’s guitar on the verses.

Cafe Racers is not one of my favourite Kim Carnes albums, her performances are great as always, I just don’t think the songs are quite up there. Shame.

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