Archive for the ‘Wendy Waldman’ Tag

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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Kim Carnes – Mistaken Identity   Leave a comment

Mistaken Identity was Kim’s 6th album, and was released in April of 1981 ; it would prove to be her best selling album reaching No. 1 in the USA, and No. 26 in the UK, and also reached No. 4 in Australia.

The massive selling single Bette Davis Eyes would reach No. 1 in the USA (and stop there for an incredible 9 weeks) and Australia, and No.10 in the UK. Draw of the Cards and the title track would be released as follow up singles with diminishing success.

Mistaken Identity was produced by Val Garay (who would also produce Martha Davis and Joan Armatrading’s hit Drop the Pilot). It contained 10 songs, 2 written by Jackie de Shannon and Donna Weiss ; Kim would have a hand in writing only 5 of the songs. Often compared to a “female Rod Stewart”, Kim’s vocals are distinctive ; you wouldn’t mistake her for anyone else. Prior to this recording Kim’s career had been in a more Pop/Country direction, and her vocals were much softer.

The album kicks off with that massive hit, Bill Cuomo’s synth intro is so recognisable, like Ultravox’s Vienna, and Kim’s vocal perfectly rendering the lyrics, although for many years I misheard a lot of them; Hollow Gold for Harlow Gold and Crow Blush for Pro Blush. The sound of this song just epitomises the 80’s ; what makes a hit record ? who knows – but this song is full of hooks and I never tire of hearing it. The following track has more of a country drive to it, featuring Daniel Moore on backing vocals. It is perhaps pleasant enough but nothing remarkable. Track 3 is the title track and a ballad, showing Kim’s vocals off to fantastic effect. This is one of my favourite tracks by Ms Carnes and one of only two solo written songs here. The vocals don’t “push” but are emotionally heartfelt, almost held back. That seems to give this song added power which together with Bill Cuomo’s keyboards and Jerry Peterson’s sax make for a great title track. Frankie Miller’s When I’m Away From You is next up and is driven by acoustic guitar, more of a straight ahead rock track with a country feel, similar in feel to I’d Lie To You For Your Love from her 86 Lighthouse album. Side One closes with Draw Of The Cards, another favourite of mine, featuring Kim’s sardonic vocal with a fully backed chorus just repeating “and its all in the draw of the cards” ; this track is more synthesised in rhythm and perhaps closer to BDE featuring great guitar work from Craig Hull, finishing with Kim’s devilish laughter. Inexplicably this song was missed off Gypsy Honeymoon her compilation CD released in the early 90’s.

Side Two kicks off with a good straight ahead rocker Break The Rules Tonite, the first of two songs with Wendy Waldman as a co-writer. This is a great song with a full on Carnes vocal and great fun. Still Hold On follows, a lovely ballad, starting off with just Kim singing over Bill’s synthesiser line, but soon beefs up after the chorus, these feature Wendy and Kim’s husband Dave Ellingson providing great harmony vocals. This song is not too dissimilar in style to some of Joan Armatrading’s songs of this era and I can imagine her singing this. The song fades out on Jerry’s sax solo. Next up is Don’t Call It Love, this would have made a great single – it has a killer chorus and perhaps with a different arrangement could have been a more dance oriented track. The final two tracks are both ballads, Miss You Tonite starts off with a similar synth rhythm to BDE, has a fantastic Carnes vocal, opining for her lost lover who she misses, “Do you ever think of me ?” after the second chorus the middle eight finishes with an amazing vocal by Ms Carnes. The album closes with My Old Pals, with Kim accompanying herself on piano ; this has more of a country-ish feel, and is a lovely if maybe surprising closer for the album.

Not surprisingly this was the start of a purple patch for Kim and really set the template in style for her next 4 or 5 albums often using the same musicians. As this LP contains such a massive 80’s hit, so memorable for its synth hook, the LP is a lot less synth driven than you might expect. A great set by Kim, and now wonderfully remastered.