Title - ‘Strange Euphoria' (Epic/Legacy)
Artist - Heart
Strange Euphoria, the first definitive career-spanning, multi-label boxed set retrospective chronicling the seminal American rock band Heart, is finally here. Personally curated by Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson themselves, Strange Euphoria is a carefully-considered anthology of greatest hits, best-loved songs, deep catalog treasures, rarities, demos, and even live performances.
The 3-CDs are accompanied by a DVD, entitled 'The Second Ending – featuring Heart,' which was recorded at the studios of KWSU @ February-March of 1976.
Heart first found success in Canada before later becoming a supergroup in the US and worldwide. Indeed, over the group's four decade history, the band has had three primary line-ups, with the constant members always being the sisters: lead singer Ann Wilson and guitarist Nancy Wilson.
With Top 10 albums on the Billboard Album Chart in the 1970's, 80's, 90's, and most recently 2010, Heart is among the most commercially enduring Hard Rock bands in history.
The first track, 'Through Eyes And Glass' is actually by Ann Wilson & The Daybreaks. A slow-paced, willowly tale about the decision to continue onwards with your life or get off the train, it leads us into a raw demo's of 'Magic Man,' the beautiful 'How Deep It Goes,' and a more-focused-on-vocals 'Crazy On You.' A combo of 'Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child)' along with an edited, and previously unreleased 'Dreamboat Annie Reprise' is next, with 'Love Alive,' the cricket-chirped opening to 'Sylvan Song,' and 'Dream Of The Archer' all following.
A powerful live version of 'White Lightning And Wine,' culled from an appearance at the Aquarius Tavern is next, with an even more adrenaline-soaked, and live performance of 'Barracuda' is brought forth. Recorded live from a BBC Radio Concert, it truly showcases Heart at their live vocal/instrument playing finest. 'Little Queen' and the fun 'Kick It Out' are next, with the 90 second demo of 'Here Song' backed by the blues-based 'Heartless' demo backing it. A stunning, simply stunning acoustic demo of 'Dog & Butterfly' is then backed by first disc closers 'Straight On' and 'Nada One.'
The second disc opens with the bass-intro'd 'Bebe le Strange,' with tracks such as the short instrumental track 'Silver Wheels II,' the bouncy 'Even It Up,' the lovely 'Sweet Darlin,' the cranked up 'City's Burning,' 'Angels,' and 'Love Mistake.' A demo of 'Lucky Day' is next, with a raw live performance of 'Never' (featuring John Paul Jones) is simply to die for (all pun intended!).
The massive latter day chart hits keep coming in the power ballad 'These Dreams,' with the tuneful 'Nobody Home,' the monster 'Alone' and the moody 'Wait For An Answer.' The second disc gets rounded out with demo's of 'Unconditional Love,' the lovely 'High Romance,' the twin acoustic guitar and singing voices of 'Under The Sky,' and finally a pulsating 'Desire Walks On' ("Beach Demo" version).
The third disc of music begins with two songs from The Lovemongers - named after an anti-war statement aimed at the "war-mongering" that was taking place in the Middle East at that time. The slow-country twang of 'Kiss' is first, followed by a live version of 'Sand.' The Lovemongers were basically the Wilson sisters in this most informal of acoustic groups along with Sue Ennis and Frank Cox. 'Everything,' a solo live cut from Nancy Wilson is next, with another live cut; this time Heart with 'She Still Believes.' A demo with the Seattle Blues Revue Horns is next in the shape of 'Any Woman's Blues,' before a quick instrumental demo of the collection's title track 'Strange Euphoria' and a two minute demo of 'Boppy's Back' - a song dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Another live track from The Lovemongers is next, 'Friend Meets Friend,' before the live jolty, harmonica-driven blues of 'Love Or Madness' comes forth. We then get the sultry 'Skin To Skin,' the rocker 'Fallen Ones,' and the plea of 'Enough,' before a live cut, 'Lost Angel' and then Ann Wilson solo on 'Little Problems, Little Lies.' The third disc is rounded off by 'Queen City,' the sing-along 'Hey You,' and a simple 30 second reprise of 'Avalon.'
The fourth disc, the aforementioned DVD entitled 'The Second Ending – featuring Heart,' was recorded at the studios of KWSU @ February-March of 1976. Indeed, this 57 minute DVD is an excellent Northwest Public Television show and features the original, and in my humble opinion, better Heart band line-up that there was to be (aka, Ann Wilson - vocals & flute, Nancy Wilson - guitars & vocals & keyboards, Roger Fisher - lead guitar, Michael Derosier - drums, Steve Fossen - bass & vocals and Howard Leese - keyboards, guitars & vocals).
Intro'd by some sad futuristic-styled visual effects, cramped together on a sedate TV stage; each member wearing a different colored short, save for Ann in all black, my two favorite performances from the show are 'Crazy On You' and 'Magic Man.' 'Crazy On You,' which came at the end of a new album three song blitz (with 'Dreamboat Annie' and 'Silver Wheels') is where Nancy gets to lead the song in on an aggressive, extended acoustic guitar, before setting Nancy's hips a shakin'! 'Magic Man' is where a shy Ann informs us they only have time for one more (she didn't lie!), tells us that it was their "first 45 that did anything"; and then adds that they too were also from Canada! Incorporating a jam and even a short drum solo, they both showcase what this band were soon going to turn into.
FYI - There is also an Amazon.com exclusive version of this box-set that includes a fourth bonus music CD (entitled Heart Zeppish) featuring five Led Zeppelin cover tracks: 'Going to California,' 'Battle Of Evermore,' 'What Is And What Should Never Be,' 'Immigrant Song' and 'Misty Mountain Hop.'