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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Capaldi, Jim - 1983 Fierce Heart
Capaldi, Jim - 1983 Fierce Heart

ARTIST: Capaldi, Jim
ALBUM: Fierce Heart
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 80059-1
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 2004, Wounded Bird, WOU-8059


LINEUP: Jim Capaldi - lead vocals, drums, percussion, acoustic guitar, acoustic piano, glockenspiel * Steve Winwood - organ, piano. synthesizers, electric guitar, marimba, backing vocals * Van Morrison - acoustic guitar * Bryson Graham - drums * Brent Forbes, Jim Leverton - bass * Pete Bonas - bass, guitar * Chris Parren - additional keyboards * Ray Otu Allen - percussion, congas * John Mizarolli - lead acoustic guitar * Nicole Winwood, Stevie Lange, Simon Bell - backing vocals * Mel Collins, Geoff Driscoll - saxophone * Martin Drover - trumpet

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tonight Your Mine * 02 Living On The Edge * 03 Bad Breaks * 04 Runaway * 05 Back At My Place * 06 That's Love * 07 I'll Always Be Your Fool * 08 Don't Let Them Control You * 09 Gifts Of Unknown Things

Up till now, there have been no articles on the late Jim Capaldi. Better known as the original drummer in UK band Traffic, it was during the 70's and 80's that Capaldi released a swag of albums, mostly in a pop rock /AOR vein, albeit with vanilla flavouring. Jim's sound is trapped somewhere between Russ Ballard, early Charlie, with a dash of Blue Oyster Cult though without the strangeness, quirks and offbeat wackiness. It surprises me that labels such as Island Records and Polydor persevered so long with Capaldi on their books as I found his music quite tasteless and lacking anything unique. Sure, there's one or two gems to be found but on the whole, you'll need to look long far and wide to find them. In the course of this article, I may do one or two other articles as I spend more time with each release. Certainly his 80's releases will find more appeal with many GDAZE readers, so I'll start with this one: 'Fierce Heart' from 1983. First bit of weirdness.. can someone try and isolate just what the album cover depicts? A snorting bull. Not only is it strange, but it's rather comic too. Traffic team-mate Steve Winwood is all over this LP, and helps give it a synth heavy direction, more so than other albums. I guess this is about as indicative of 1983 as you can get from Jim, though nowhere near the likes of Michael Bolton or Stan Bush during this same timeframe.

The Songs
Opener 'Tonight Your Mine' is drowned in some fat out-of-sync synth patterns and some vocoder vocal effects which don't do the song justice. Sure, it's melodic as heck and nice guitar work too but spoiled by those things I mentioned. A guest appearance from Van Morrison is also a feature of this tune. 'Living On The Edge' features just Capaldi and Winwood solely, another synth heavy track which has sequencer written all over it, meaning that there's little in the way of anything organic about it. 'Bad Breaks' is an aggressive pop rocker that feels more cohesive, also good is a cover of Dutch band Solution's 'Runaway' moving the song in a Bob Seger like direction. Both those songs were written for Solution on their 1982 album 'Runaway' which Jim produced. Not bad. There's more Capaldi/Winwood teamwork on 'Back At My Place', containing some smooth moments on the chorus and an overall pleasing sound. Continuing this vein is probably the album's most notable track: 'That's Love' which has Winwood's influence all over it. The song pulled into #28 on the US Charts, Capaldi's most successful track. The laid-back 'I'll Always Be Your Fool' has blue-eyed soul wrapped all around it, 'Don't let Them Control You' sounds a bit long-winded, and it is. Kinda funky, kinda soul, kinda latin, kinda.. well everything really. Lot's of brass work on this one. The album finishes with 'Gifts Of Unknown Things', which struts along in solo-era Alan Parsons like similarity.

In Summary
After a raft of UK only releases, 'Fierce Heart' got a wider audience, and most pundits back in the day thought it was a pretty reasonable album for its time. Capaldi's influences seemed to include a bunch of Brazilian references, a legacy of his time living in Brazil and having a Brazilian wife and children. Capaldi released two more albums during the mid-late 80's: 1984's 'One Man Mission' and 1988's 'Some Come Running'. I'll probably write something about those two at some point. Is 'Fierce Heart' worth a punt? Most definitely.

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#1 | Eric on February 24 2013 13:37:37
"Living on the Edge' got a lot of radio air time. Nice to see solo Capaldi here- finally.
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