Shirley Eikhard

Child of the Present

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Recorded while still her in her late teens, Child of the Present is a definite step forward for Shirley Eikhard. This second album allows of more of her personality to shine through than the first one did, and the over-production that plagued her debut is gone. Also, instead of being marketed as an Anne Murray protégée, Eikhard is now presenting herself as a singer/songwriter squarely in the Carole King mode (in fact, a peppy, poppy cover of King's "To Love" kicks off the album). The result of all this is a pretty good pop/rock outing with hints of blues, jazz, and country influences. Unfortunately, the backing band, while competent, is not quite up to Eikhard's level, which means that a slow blues like "Leave the Windows Open," which would be incendiary in the hands of Bonnie Raitt's band, is merely OK here. Eikhard, though, is in fine voice throughout, and this album contains several songwriting gems awaiting rediscovery. As well, the standout track, "I Just Wanted You to Know," presages the jazzier direction Eikhard's career would take some 20 years later.