Henry Kaiser

Heart's Desire

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A recording of Kaiser's working California band of the late '80s and early '90s, Heart's Desire splits its time about evenly between originals and the cover versions that made much of the group's reputation. Part of the pleasure derived from his covers was not just the expertise and giddy joy with which they were usually delivered, but simply the inspired choices Kaiser would make. It's not your everyday album that has the theme from The Andy Griffith Show ("The Fishin' Hole") followed by a Burt Bacharach number, a Stockhausen piano piece, and Hendrix' "Are You Experienced?"! Unfortunately, the band members' own compositions fail to live up to these examples, tending toward the anemically psychedelic. Vocalist Cary Sheldon has a winning voice and Kaiser does his best to put some oomph in the proceedings, but there's a bit too much easy professionalism and self-satisfaction present. It's worthwhile to hear some of the covers, but interested listeners would be better directed toward albums such as Hope You Like Our New Direction for a more solid and enjoyable experience.

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