Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#365 in the Series) is the self-titled debut from Heartsfield
Happy Birthday to Us, Happy Birthday to Us, Happy Birthday Dear “Cool Album of the Day.” Happy Birthday to You!!! Well, not exactly. This is our 365th entry. So we’re going to call this our birthday! Yeah, we may have started a little over a year ago but we did miss a few days early, but since this is # 365, it’s our birthday.
Keeping that in mind, I’m going to feature another album by my dear friends, Heartsfield. Yes, we’ll be getting back to some more current goodies very soon, but since it’s our birthday, I’m going to give myself this gift today and write about the band that I know and love the best!
Heartsfield was formed in the very beginning of the 1970s. They were born when JC Hartsfield, who was doing some writing and playing at that time with Perry Jordan, joined forces with another band that Perry was playing with at that time, Liquid Heart. Now you know where the name came from.
They never really did play the bar scene. From day one, they joined as songwriters, did some demos and did a few shows. The response was great right from the beginning and soon the labels were looking at them. Believe me, that’s the short version, but you get the idea.
In 1973, the band released their first album, called simply Heartsfield, it was released on the Mercury label. They would eventually release two more for them. A fourth album would eventually be released on Columbia.
If you ask most of the bands fans, they would tell you that this was their magnum opus. This was “the” album. If you were to buy one, get this one etc.
I could argue with that, but you can’t go wrong with any of those four.
The album kicks off with Perry Jordan’s “I’m Coming Home,” this song would go on to be the band’s show closer for many a year. Three different lead vocalists and six way harmonies highlight the track. Freddie Dobbs’ “Hush-a Bye” was another that would always be on the live playlist, and another that was one of my favorites. Phil Lucafo would give us his guitar driven blues rocker, “Gypsy Rider.”
“Music Eyes” would probably be considered the bands number one track. That’s the consensus feeling I’ve always gotten from the fans I’ve spoken with.
That’s only the first side. My favorite track, well at least one of them, leads off side two, that would be “Understandin’ Woman.” Freddie penned a real gem here. It features electric and acoustic guitar solos and all those harmonies once again.
Perry’s “Just that Wind” is one of the jam band genres earliest classics. Some long drawn our guitar solos are featured throughout.
Another one of the bands classic numbers was the sing along “The Only Time I’m Sober is when You’re Gone.” It was written by Perry and Phil. Phil brings out the pedal steel guitar for this one.
The last song is also one of my favorites. Perry Jordan has always had a great love for our animal friends and also our surroundings. He shares some of that sentiment here with the great, “Please Save Her Life.” This was a track that was rarely played live. That’s a shame, it’s a fantastic tune!
We get a tease of J.C.’s great piece “The Wonder of It All” as the album ends. This is where the story continues in Act Two as it will be the title cut on the follow up a short 12 months later.
Heartsfield was produced by Tom Geving and the band themselves. Tom added piano as well.
This version of Heartsfield disbanded in 1982. They would continue in different configurations over the years. I was lucky enough to promote two reunion shows of all six original members on New Year’s Eve in 2004 and 2005. Due to health reasons and people moving, those two shows look to be the last time all six original members would play together. Perry had been playing and touring with a new lineup since 1998. Since his well-publicized health issues he can no longer front the band. Freddie Dobbs has rejoined to take Perry’s place. So the Heartsfield name is still out there.
There is a short video playlist below, on it I have the audio of “Understandin’ Woman,” a video of “Hush a Bye” from the 2004 reunion show. Yes, a little rusty after 22 years of not playing together, but still worth seeing, and lastly a little bit of Perry and the new guys (Scott Bonshire, Andon Davis, Steve Eddington and Dave Nelson from WGN TV a few years ago.)
— Larry Carta
- I’m Comin’ Home / P. Jordan / 3:40
- Hush-a-Bye / F. Dobbs / 5:38
- Gypsy Rider / P. Lucafo / 4:52
- Music Eyes / P. Jordan / 6:25
- Understandin’ Woman / F. Dobbs / 4:56
- Just That Wind / P. Jordan / 5:35
- The Only Time I’m Sober Is When You’re Gone / P. Jordan & P. Lucafo / 3:17
- Please Save Her Life / P. Jordan & J. Jordan / 6:31
- Wonder Of It All / J.C. Hartsfield / 1:11
- Art Baldacci – Drums, Backing Vocals, Bass Guitar, Congas, Piano
- Greg Biela – Bass, Backing Vocals
- Freddie Dobbs – Electric Guitar, Bottleneck Guitar, Vocals
- J.C. Hartsfield – Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
- Perry Jordan – Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitar, Vocals
- Phil Lucafo – Bass, Electric Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar, Vocals
- Felix “Flaco” Falcon – Congas
- Beth Reynolds – Backing Vocals
- Tom Geving – Piano