A blog about my favourite movies, music, and TV.

12 January 2009

Kathie Lee - Heart Of A Woman

Another of my absolute favourite albums, ever, has to be Kathie Lee Gifford’s pop masterpiece, Heart Of A Woman. Perhaps, one of the world’s greatest underappreciated divas, Kathie Lee is best known as the former host of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, a mainstay of US daytime TV from 1985 to 2000, which even aired over here in the UK for awhile. I remember one of my many days spent skiving off school, and while parked in front of the TV one afternoon watching a double bill of Sally Jessy Raphael and Jenny Jones, on came Kathie Lee during the former and performed a stellar rendition of her single Love Never Fails. Kathie joked that she was no Britney Spears when quizzed about her album, maintaining that her soon to be flop album was filled with classy adult pop tunes, mainly for the Mums that watched her show. Well the housewives of the US may have deserted Kathie Lee while stocking up on her tatty leggings and sweaters at Walmart, but I never forgot about her foray into the world of pop.

The album opens with a brilliant track, The Hardest Part, in which Kathie explores the idea of being in a new relationship and saying goodbye once and for all to your old flame, beautifully delivered, and honest to a fault, poor Kathie.

Next up is the title track Heart Of A Woman, a beautiful, heartfelt rejection of the old ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ analogy, Kathie Lee will have none of it.

“The heart of a woman, needs like his, it’s as simple as this,” she explains.

Next up is the fabulous single Love Never Fails, a mid-tempo gem with an almost dancey feel to it. You can tell Kathie Lee believes every word and sings with such bombastic passion at times it’s hard not to just join it!

Reason Enough follows the pattern of the first few tracks – Kathie is obviously pretty loved up and she’s totally into this slice of schmaltz, I just love it. We’re coming up for mid way through and Kathie pulls out all the stops for this version of In This Life, which has also been recorded by Bette Midler and Westlife!

Always Been You is another lovely one, a few beats add a bit of interest, as do the backing singers who help Kathie out on the choruses, in less skilful hands this would be bland filler, but from Kathie’s fair lips this is just sublime, although not the most memorable track on the album by any means.

“What’s happening, inside of me? I’ve never felt this way, baby,” sings Kathie as she opens her next stellar mid-tempo slice of pop perfection, I Don’t Wanna Say Goodbye. Much like the other songs on the album, this is relaxing but not unengaging pop at its best, perhaps a little dreamier and soulful than the tracks that have gone before.

I don’t like Make My Day too much; it’s a bit to saccharine even for this album!

Heartache Heartache sees Kathie Lee don a cowboy hat and a pair of leather chaps to lay the law down to a low down good for nothin’ man that dares to crack on to her, no doubt at some dodgy rodeo or cowgirl bar! Kathie rips him another one in this country classic that sadly never was.
“You’re trouble with a capital ‘T’, you’re nothing but a heartache for me!” Roars Kathie!
This is easily my highlight of this CD, I just love it, I wish I had Kathie’s gutsy chops! She should write one of her ropey musicals based around this song alone, I’d go!

We Don’t Make Love Anymore is so sad; I wonder what inspired this sincere exploration of the concept of a man not fulfilling his husbandly duties? Surely nobody would dare to deny Kathie a bit of action, not after hearing Heartache Heartache, anyway. Girl can throw down!

If Only Then Was Now closes the original tracks on the album, it loyally follows the pattern of much of what has gone before.

An absolute gem rewards all those who stick it out till the end, a Soul Solution remix of The Hardest Part closes the album and its easily the best mix those guys ever did! It would’ve been massive had Universal not pulled the plug after the album absolutely tanked the US, poor Kathie Lee. After years of recording Christian pop and fading ever closer into obscurity Kathie returned to daytime TV to co-host the Today Show in early 2008 to great success. Those with good memories will remember Kathie’s run in with human rights campaigners in 1996 when she was exposed for allegedly exploiting thousands of children in South American sweatshops who were making items for her trashtastic clothing line for Walmart. Kathie should have been forced to send the kiddies this CD as compensation, it’s that good!


Mike said...

Kathie Lee! I love the album - it is sappy, middle of the road rubbish but Love Never Fails is AMAZING!!!

Jamie_movietrip said...

I agree wholeheartedly, I knew you'd love it, Mike! Thanks for encouranging me to post a bit more!

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