Exposé Online banner

Heart — Little Queen
(Epic EK85772, 1977/2004, CD)

Heart — Dog & Butterfly
(Epic EK85771, 1978/2004, CD)

Heart — Bebe le Strange
(Epic EK85770, 1980/2004, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2004-09-01

Little Queen Cover artDog & Butterfly Cover artBebe le Strange Cover artOut of the Pacific Northwest, the two rockin' sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson and their band hit American radios in early '76 with "Crazy on You" and "Magic Man," two hits with a sound that combined an obvious Led Zeppelin influence with a strong feminine touch, along with other album cuts displaying folk, pop and country elements. After a protracted tussle with their Canadian record label over an unfinished second album the band didn't want released, Heart produced what are probably the two strongest albums in their canon: Little Queen from 1977 and Dog & Butterfly from a year later. The former's first side opens with the unabashed rocker "Barracuda," displaying a muscular fortitude that rivaled any of the male-dominated hard rock bands of the day, but quickly retreats to a gentler acoustic style that presents a completely different side of the band for the folky "Love Alive" and the surreal "Sylvan Song" and "Dream of the Archer," highlighting Nancy Wilson's instrumental abilities on guitar and mandolin, before bouncing back with the hard rocking "Kick It Out"; all taken, this first side of Little Queen is probably Heart's finest moment. The remainder of the album is more a mix of styles, with the dual-mandolin driven vocal tune "Say Hello" being the highlight. Among the bonus tracks on this release is a live tribute to their heroes in their most famous song: "Stairway to Heaven." Dog & Butterfly kicks off with a ballsy live rocker "Cook with Fire," switching to studio mode for the remainder of the side. All of the albums rockier material like the funky "Hijinx" and "Straight On" inhabit the first side, although much of it is a bit more subdued than earlier more Zep influenced hard rock efforts. The second side features the more soft, folky and acoustic numbers like the hauntingly beautiful title track, and the appropriately titled ballad "Lighter Touch," which actually kicks up and rocks a bit. "Nada One" begins quietly on acoustic guitar and piano with light orchestration, evolving into a distinctively styled light rock tune, while "Mistral Wind" takes that idea to even further extremes, beginning with Ann Wilson's breathy vocal delivery over an acoustic guitar bed, eventually giving way to the aggressive delivery befitting this powerful and dynamic rock epic. The three bonus tracks include an excellent live take of "Heartless," the hit from their unfinished - then finally released second album Magazine. Two years later, Bebe le Strange takes a more streamlined back-to-basics approach, with the evident influence of the new wave sound on tracks like "Break" and "Strange Night." The title track and "Even It Up" are the strongest rockers, outdoing anything on its predecessor, but what makes this one less than satisfying as a whole is the near absence of the acoustic numbers that made the previous two albums so balanced and unique. Most readers are probably familiar with these, but there you have it; start with Little Queen, forget the Bebe.

Filed under: Reissues, Issue 30, 2004 releases, 1977 recordings, 1978 recordings, 1980 recordings

Related artist(s): Heart

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Liberation. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Govea - Danza Urbana – This Mexican trio is led by keyboard wizard Salvador Govea, who also handles most of the compositions and arrangements. He is joined by bassist Luis Arturo Guerrero and drummer Victor Baldovinos, the...  (2011) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues