Heart – Dreamboat Annie

1975 (Capitol)

1: Magic Man (5:28)
2: Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child) (1:10)
3: Crazy On You (4:53)
4: Soul Of The Sea (6:33)
5: Dreamboat Annie (2:02)
6: White Lightning & Wine (3:53)
7: (Love Me Like Music) I’ll Be Your Song (3:20)
8: Sing Child (4:55)
9: How Deep It Goes (3:49)
10: Dreamboat Annie (Reprise) (3:50)

The sparkling guitar in the intro of Magic Man enters your ears in such a way that you already have the entire album in your pocket after just two seconds. That must have been what the Canadian label Mushroom Records thought when the recently immigrated band Heart from America approached them to release their debut album, “Dreamboat Annie”. The album was released in September 1975 following the resounding success of the single Magic Man. The album initially appeared only in Canada later in America and the rest of the world.

The credits reveal the presence of three guitarists on Magic Man. The result is a wonderfully captivating song with plenty of solos. There is also room for a synthesizer which demonstrates how well everything is balanced. The tasteful percussion is perfectly timed as well. It all sounds very smooth and that is necessary because the hard rock allure of this song gains extra luster from Ann Wilson’s phenomenal voice. She deserves to have this kind of amazing music around her.

The description a mixture of catchy hard rock, calm songs and folk is absolutely fitting here. And it’s not in its infancy; the conviction hits you as soon as you open the box. After the powerful Magic Man the short Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child) follows an acoustic variation of the title track which appears in three tracks on the album. The combination of lapping waves with the acoustic guitar and Ann Wilson’s warm voice fits well with the essence of the song, a ship full of dreams. Crazy On You was also released as a single but you probably already knew that. The song starts with a stirring acoustic guitar that eventually finds its way into tighter waters. It is my personal favorite with its tasty riffs. In Soul Of The Sea we hear the most progressive rock influences. The hippie-like song reminds me a bit of Tales From Topographic Oceans by Yes. The orchestral passages also give the song a proggy vibe. No, if you’re looking for prog Heart is not really the place to go. However, the band is so good at what they do, a musical charm offensive.

Let yourself be carried away with the sultry title track where Annie’s dreamboat has been transformed into a cruise ship. Listen to the tight guitar in White Lightning & Wine and you’ll know what inspired Genesis to create I Can’t Dance. Let yourself be carried away by the ballad Love Me Like Music (I’ll Be Your Song) or let your hair down in the lively Sing Child where a whirlwind flute solo resides. With the beautiful trifle How Deep It Goes and the piano-dominated reprise of Dreamboat Annie the pink vessel docks in the harbor once again.

“Dreamboat Annie” is a heartwarming album. Ten great songs, two of which have become worldwide hits. It’s a pleasant journey aboard the Annie.    

Ann Wilson: lead vocals, flute (3,8,10), backing vocals (3,7–9), acoustic guitar (9)
Nancy Wilson: electric guitar (1,6), acoustic guitar (1,3,5–7,9,10), backing vocals (3,5–10), 12-string acoustic guitar, 6-string acoustic guitar (4)
Roger Fisher: electric guitar (1,3,4,6–9), acoustic guitar (1), lap steel (7)
Howard Leese: electric guitar (1,3), synthesizer (1), orchestral arrangements (4,7,9,10), bells (5), orchestra bells (7), backing vocals (8)
Steve Fossen: bass (1,3–8,10)
Mike Derosier: drums (6,8)
Dave Wilson: drums (1)
Ray Ayotte: conga (1), percussion (4)
Mike Flicker: percussion (1), timpani (10), arrangements
Kat Hendrikse: drums (3–5,7,10)
Rob Deans: synthesizer (3,9), orchestral arrangements (4,7,9,10), piano (9,10)
Geoff Foubert: backing vocals (3,5,7,10), banjo (5)
Tessie Bensussen: backing vocals (3,5,10)
Jim Hill: backing vocals (3,5,10)
Brian Newcombe: bass (9)
Duris Maxwell: drums (9)

© Dick van der Heijde 2023