Friday, June 26, 2015

Rachel Rachel "Way To My Heart"


Rachel Rachel
Way To My Heart
1991 Dayspring Records
Produced By: Billy Smiley

album cover

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Track Listings

In the River (5:15)
Rain On Me (5:40)

Musicians

Brynn Beltran: Keyboards, lead & background vocals
Cheryl Jewel: Lead vocals, background vocals
Jenny Sparks: Drums, percussion
Heli Sterner: Lead and rhythm guitars, lead & background vocals
Jennifer York: Bass
Dann Huff: Guitar (uncredited)

I've always been partial to female vocals in rock 'n roll, but a whole band comprised of females? Other than than maybe the Bangles, I wasn't aware of many female rock bands when Rachel Rachel came on the scene in 1991. The band was formed my bassist Jennifer York in California. Eventually the other band members would find each other and the band was formed. The album, Way to My Heart would eventually gain critical success in the Christian market. Produced by Billy Smiley of White Heart, many of the songs were co-written by members of White Heart.

One of the highlights on this album is the fantastic cover of the classic Kansas song, Carry On Wayward Son. The lyrics were slightly altered by Kerry Livgreen himself after his conversion to Christianity, but the song still rocks. While it's hard to outdo the original, the ladies handle the song quite well. The one music video I'm aware of for this album is for this song and it even features an appearance by Kerry himself!

As a whole I really love this album. There Ain't Enough Love is an excellent opening track. Cheryl's vocals are really good and this song is a good example of the vocal harmony by the rest of the ladies found on other songs as well.

Long Lost Love opens up with a drumming piece by Jenny Sparks, followed by a nice guitar intro. I think the song has a good bluesy sound overall, a nice change from some of the other songs.

I Will Stand By You, probably the second most recognizable track on the album actually went to #4 on Christian radio. It's a slower song, but I wouldn't necessarily label it as a ballad. Beginning with the second verse, the guitar and drums ever so slightly pick up. It really is a beautiful song and one of my favorites.

Like with most albums there are a few songs that even to this day I'm rushing to hit the skip button. The first is David's Dance (The Shim Sham). The title should say it all. Any song with the words shim sham can't be good...and this one isn't. Papa Can You Hear Me? is a ballad type song, but if I didn't know better I may have thought Al Gore wrote it. It's a very mother earth, nature based song. Nothing wrong with the song's topic at all, just not my cup of tea. 

Overall this is a great freshman effort by the ladies. They would go on to release one more album in 1993, Dust to Diamonds, which is my favorite of the two. However this album is a must own in my book, especially if you appreciate female vocals with your rock music. Now I've heard this band catch a lot of flack for their relationship with White Heart, or that Dann Huff played all the real guitar riffs on the album. These things may be true, but for me it doesn't take anything away from a good album.

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