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Bardens, Peter - 1979 Heart To Heart



ARTIST: Bardens, Peter
ALBUM: Heart To Heart
LABEL: Arista
SERIAL: SPART-1108
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 2012, Esoteric, ECLEC2322

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Peter Bardens - lead vocals, keyboards * Pete Van Hooke - drums * Stan Scivener - bass * Gus Isidore - guitar, vocals * Mel Collins - sax, flute * Pete Shade - vibes * Chris Karan - percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Julia * 02 Doing The Crab * 03 Slipstream * 04 Raining All Over The World * 05 Jinxed * 06 After Dark * 07 Slow Motion * 08 Tune For Des * 09 Heart To Heart


Background
Sometime between the final appearance with Camel on 1978's 'Breathless' and his heavy influence on Van Morrison's excellent 'Wavelength' album; keyboardist extraordinaire Peter Bardens recorded 'Heart To Heart'. Reissued twice, the first time in 2005 in a Japanese mini-LP sleeve and more recently in 2012 by the untouchable Esoteric label; Bardens was no stranger to the solo game releasing a couple varied bluesy progressive efforts in the earlier half of the decade, neither of which interested me as much as his work with Camel or the prog pop one-off Keats.


The Songs
Proggy types looking for something more challenging might want to set their sights elsewhere as 'Heart To Heart' runs the gamut between light fusion and late 70s style AOR. That's a good thing right? It is and opener 'Julia' does not disappoint having all the elements of both styles while capturing the dusky, late summer vibe found on the aforementioned 'Breathless' album, my favourite from Camel's enormous catalog. It might have made for a nice single pick had Arista promoted the record which they didn't. 'Doing The Crab' the first of two instrumentals feels like The Manhattan Transfer with a kitschy but fun 1940s big band influence while 'Slipstream' tackles Caldera-like pop fusion with colourful Middle Eastern influences and a certain degree of panache. 'Raining All Over The World' is very low-key pop rock and although Bardens' vocal abilities were never his strength, the man rarely tackled material beyond his reach and this one fits like a glove. Moving deeper into the platter I can't help but recall Bob James on the sultry 'After Dark' and if you remember the theme song to the late/great American TV sitcom 'Taxi' you'll know exactly where I'm coming from. 'Slow Motion' is the final and weakest of the vocal tracks with a lightweight disco approach although the closing title cut is more than worth waiting for sounding like Supertramp if they had gone the Spyro Gyra route.


In Summary
One other Bardens album I need to mention is 1987's 'Seen One Earth'. Released on the short-lived Capitol Records progressive sub-label Cinema; 'Seen One Earth' is a classic of '80s UK prog sounding very much like a new age version of Pink Floyd and featured the minor hit single 'In Dreams'. Long out of print, let's hope it too see's reissue, how 'bout it Esoteric?


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