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Fiddler; John: State Of Heart

Having been in Medicine Head, the Mott spin off British Lions and Box Of Frogs, singer songwriter John Fiddler found himself at a crossroads. Having turned down the overtures of Micky Moody (Whitesnake), Boz Burrell (Bad Company) and Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son and current The Who drummer) to team up for a project, Fiddler eventually began to work with the remaining Stranglers. With that band having recently parted with Hugh Cornwell, the trio began writing songs for a possible album. However the collaboration didn't last, with the frontman-less band deciding their future lay in another direction. Some of the songs intended for that possible release ended up on the cassette only State Of The Heart solo album from Fiddler and in truth it is reasonably easy to hear why they never ended up as part of the Stranglers catalogue. Even for a band who were merely spattered by the backsplash of Punk, the tame AOR, almost MOR served up here simply wouldn't have got any Stranglers fans vaguely excited.

However I've been known to wallow happily with some AOR, so that doesn't instantly mean State Of The Heart is without worth, with opening pair "Strong Heart" and "Win Or Lose" tugging at the heart strings reasonably convincingly, but it doesn't last. "Only The Roses" tips into 80s Pop, a parping keyboard line and gentle riff failing to hold the interest, coming across like a lame Simple Minds and by the time you reach the unbelievably dated "Sex In The 90s" and its awful chorus line of 'Sex in the nineties is just like Russian roulette', really there's little left to engage with. Cod-electro-reggae slips into view during "Hearts Of Fire" - one of the hopeful Stranglers numbers, the other being the marginally less cringeworthy "When I Looked Away" which is still middle of the road 80s pop.

To be fair the recording standards don't really help matters, a clunky drum machine and some poorly chosen keys-effects merely compounding the issues. However when you consider this is the 'remastered' version, then that's not saying much.

For serious Fiddler aficionados I'm sure this is a welcome reissue of a long out of print and hard to find piece of the Medicine Head, British Lions, Box Of Frogs heritage. However musically I can't suggest this tame fare will be right up the street of fans of any of those bands and really there's little about it to recommend, other than it is obviously from the heart.

The typo in the booklet at the end of the interesting essay from Fiddler himself sums things up perfectly when it says, 'Pace And Love To You All, John'. A little injection of pace would have served this collection well.


Track Listing
1. Strong Heart
2. Win Or Lose
3. Only The Roses
4. Time Will Tell
5. Who's Havin' Fun?
6. It's Love That Really Counts
7. Gimme Blue Skies
8. Sex In the 90's
9. Hearts Of Fire
10. When I Looked Away
11. Everybody Has the Blues (Sometimes)
12. Where's Heaven Now?

Added: September 28th 2013
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: John Fiddler at Angel Air Records
Hits: 1211
Language: english

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