John Stewart

Fire in the Wind

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Fire in the Wind marked the first of ex-Kingston Trio member John Stewart's three albums for RSO. The vastly underrated singer/songwriter had played record-company roulette ever since going solo in the late '60s, and he often worked with top Nashville session musicians in the middle of the 1970s. With this 1977 release, Stewart clearly embraced a more pop/rock approach while maintaining his folk roots and love of acoustic guitar. "Fire in the Wind" shows Stewart's skill with strong, simple melodies and irresistible choruses; catchy guitar fills and leads illustrate the album's more mainstream direction. His rich voice carries the country/folk number "Rock It in My Own Sweet Time." The clean acoustic and electric guitars ring brightly on the buoyant "On You Like the Wind." Stewart's lyrics often invoke images of nature; "Morning Thunder" is about a woman running naked in the sunshine. "Promise the Wind" is another pleasant number with a great chorus. Fans who've seen Stewart in concert know he has a sly sense of humor, but "18 Wheels" is one of the few times it's displayed on record. It's about the solitary existence of a truck driver, but the artist's protagonist looks down to see a couple in a car he's passing on the highway and fires off a hysterical line about the woman with a beehive hairdo "laying with her head in his lap/I don't believe she was takin' a nap." Fire in the Wind has a few strong songs, but it's more notable for laying the musical foundation for the hit album Bombs Away Dream Babies and single "Gold" two years later.

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