Linda Lewis

Heart Strings

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Although it has since been superseded by 2002's U.K. Reach for the Truth anthology, 1974's Heart Strings remains a worthy, if patchy, introduction to Linda Lewis' early-'70s catalog. Drawing, for the most part, from her second and third Reprise label albums, but leaving her debut completely untouched, Heart Strings also scoops up three single-only tracks, "Safe and Sound," "Sideway Shuffle," and the June 1973 U.K. hit "Rock a Doodle Do." Released following Lewis' departure to Arista, but prior to her Top 20 re-emergence with "It's in His Kiss," Heart Strings' primary objective was to illustrate the sheer dynamism of Lewis' style. As a songwriter, Lewis possessed a youthful elegance and optimism that dovetailed perfectly with her unmistakable and effervescent vocal style, whether she was sadly balladeering in a little girl chirrup, or letting rip excitedly with octave scaling, glass-shattering shrieks. It was her utter refusal to rest easy in either soul or pop sounds that made her material so special. And on Heart Strings that dichotomy is amplified, resulting in an album that surely packs as many moods as it has tracks.