Dave Stewart and the Spiritual Cowboys

Dave Stewart and the Spiritual Cowboys

1990: Arista ARCD-8626

  1. Soul Years
  2. King of the Hypocrites
  3. Diamond Avenue
  4. This Little Town
  5. On Fire
  6. Heaven and Earth
  7. Love Shines
  8. Party Town
  9. Mr Reed
  10. Fashion Bomb
  11. Jack Talking
  12. Hey Johnny
  13. The Devil’s Just Been Using You
  14. Spiritual Love

It took me years to get to liking this album, and I’m still not 100% of the way there. Thankfully Dave’s songs are patient and don’t seem to mind growing on me one at a time. My first impression of this record was “oh dear…” from the cover art to the production quality and especially Dave’s vocal delivery. I still loathe the cover but have gradually reached an understanding of the balance of the other elements: Dave’s not Annie, of course, and on this album as well as Greetings From the Gutter he seems to be trying to find ways to spin his voice within his own songs so that it all works out, although I don’t think he’s ever found the right presentation.

And it’s a little bit sad because what he has to say in this album is so definitely voiced, it seems it would be perfectly natural to have the voice delivering it match the “voice” of the lyrics. But he’s overproduced himself on both albums, as he occasionally did on Eurythmics tracks, reinforcing the structures at the expense of the vocal jewels showcased therein. Having said that, I want to reiterate that I really, really love what Dave’s done most of the time; it’s just that there are a handful of efforts that yielded results I found less than up to his usual level. After all, when you’ve heard “Would I Lie To You,” it’s hard to settle for less.

My favorite tracks on this album are the following not necessarily in order, as I groove on them frequently with changing preferences: “Fashion Bomb,” “Jack Talking,” “Hey Johnny,” “Spiritual Love,” “Soul Years,” “Party Town,” and “On Fire.” Hmm…apparently I’ve listed half the album as my favorites…I guess that means I like it, eh?