Everyone needs this in their collection. With good copies going for less than 20 dollars, how can you go wrong? First things first, this is just a great 70s rock album, really great every track start to finish. But secondly, and more importantly, this record sounds AMAZING. Personally, I don't think all analog matters as much as how the record was mastered (see Brothers in Arms), but whether it's the analog nature of this or how it was mastered, this is the kind or record you play to show people how great vinyl can sound. Come for Barracuda, stay for the audiophile bliss.
I was in and out of Heart rather quickly, feeling that Dreamboat Annie was far more real, filled with less hype and more, dare I say it, filled with far more honesty and heart. Yet that may not have been entirely the fault of the band, as they began, then curtailed an album for Mushroom Records, one that later became their third adventure, Magazine, pieced together and certainly did not come off as a concerted effort.
Nevertheless, even with this false start Little Queen was flashing-ly successful, though road down a more commercial avenue with the opening track “Barracuda,” expressing a good deal of anger toward Mushroom Records (though who knew at the time) as they washed the airways with own personal Zeppelin style metal menace, on featuring a more polished femininity gracefully fashioned around the edges. That said, the record always reminded me of 1975 self-titled Fleetwood Mac outing, where Heart polished the record nearly to death, as did the band Boston, making the collection impossible not to like, as it was filled with wonderful harmonies, super songs, emancipated structure and was electric riff driven with animated hooks and a brilliant bass-line.
Yet still, as these ample guitar textures bathed in stadium rock, funk, moodiness and melancholy, accented with string arrangements that celebrated a larger than life feel, I was forever left with the thought that the band was not going to last, that all off this perfection left little room for one diamond to outshine the another, that the corporate nature of this release was in no short order going to lead to the band’s demise. Of course, for those of you who weren’t there at the time, the cover shot on Dreamboat Annie had the press suggesting that the two where lesbian sisters. The print was very suggestive, quoting the sisters as saying, “It was only our first time,” intimating that there was indeed something more between the two than simply sisterhood … while that wasn’t true, the world just couldn’t get passed the notion of hard rocking women in 1977, needing to turn them into something more, and in turn, making them something less.
I would dearly love to go on and on about this record, though the truth of the matter is that the record is what it is, you’ll hear it all on the very first spin, there are no hidden messages references or imagery that will slowly revel themselves. Little Queen is straight ahead rock n’ roll.
These first two (possibly three) records paved the way for other women wishing to exhibit a strong presence in music, especially with the brilliant rich and innovative acoustic playing by Nancy Wilson. And therein lies the secret, after all these years, it’s not the rockers that have stood the test of time from the Heart catalog, it’s the quieter more introspective moments from this and their other records that still hold my attention and admiration.