Jim Capaldi: Fierce Heart (1983)

Kronomyth 8.0: ARC OF A DIVERSE ARTIST. Co-produced with Steve Winwood, Fierce Heart is a conscious attempt to channel Winwood’s success with synthesizers into Jim Capaldi’s career. The result is surprisingly effective; in fact, this might be the best solo album he’s ever recorded. Capaldi doesn’t rely completely on synthesizers, but blends them into the approach taken on his last record, Let The Thunder Cry. The songs are once again reassuringly familiar; “That’s Love,” “I’ll Always Be Your Fool,” Living On The Edge” and “Runaway” use established rock motifs. Capaldi’s not trying to rewrite the book of rock, simply add his two cents to the conversation. The songs this time favor love over social change; the funky “Don’t Let Them Control You” (a rewrite of a Brazilian song, “Olhos Coloridos”) is the lone agitator in an otherwise smooth collection. The album—his first for new label Atlantic—was his highest charting since his debut, Oh How We Danced, and produced two hits in “That’s Love” and “Living On The Edge.” Although the year started off well enough for Capaldi and Winwood, it would end with the deaths of Chris Wood and Reebop Kwaku Baah (both of whom were also born in the same year, 1944). Still, Fierce Heart remains something of a high point in Jim Capaldi’s career and a sort of late-season fruition of his partnership with Winwood. It’s not as heavy as some of his other pop/rock albums, but it may be the best argument for his strengths as a singer/songwriter. If Winwood is your cup of tea, Fierce Heart is your capaldi. And that’s no bull. (You see, the cover has a picture of a bull on it and… eh, nevermind.)

The Songs
A1. Tonight You’re Mine (4:08)
A2. Living On The Edge (4:40)
A3. Bad Breaks (Jim Capaldi/William Ennes) (3:06)
A4. Runaway (Jim Capaldi/Solution) (3:19)
A5. Back At My Place (3:06)
B1. That’s Love (3:36)
B2. I’ll Always Be Your Fool (3:46)
B3. Don’t Let Them Control You (Jim Capaldi/Macau) (5:08)
B4. Gifts of Unknown Things (5:32)
*B5. Low Spark of High Heeled Boys

All songs written by Jim Capaldi unless noted.

* Available on U.S. cassette versions only.

The Players
Jim Capaldi (vocals, drums, percussion, acoustic guitar, Linn drum programming, piano, glockenspiel), Steve Winwood (electric guitars, synthesizers, guitars, vocals, organ, piano, Linn drum programming, incidental marimba, arrangements) with Ray Otu Allen (congas, percussion), Simon Bell (burning man on B2), Pete Bonas (guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, Ovation guitar), Mel Collins (saxophone), Geoff Driscoll (saxophone on B3), Martin Drover (trumpet on B3), Brent Forbes (bass), Bryson Graham (drums), Steve Lange (burning woman on B2), Jim Leverton (bass on B4), John Mizarollo (acoustic guitar lead on B1), Van Morrison (acoustic guitar on A1), Chris Parren (keyboadrs, synthesizers), Nicole Winwood (vocals on B1). Produced by Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi; engineered by Phil Bodger, Dave Belotti, John Etchells, Keith Fernley, Mark Freegard, Nobby, Tom O’Leary, John Walls, Graham Watts, Steve Winwood.

The Pictures
Design by Rocking Russian. Photography by Waring Abbott.

The Plastic
Released on elpee and cassette in January 1983 in the US (Atlantic, 80059-1/4), Australia and Canada (WEA, 25 00571), Germany (WEA, 25-0057-1) and Japan (WEA, P-11373) with lyric sleeve; reached #91 on the US charts. Re-issued on CD on August 24, 2004 in the US (Wounded Bird, WOU 8059).

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