..a classic 80's album due for re-release !
N. Page | UK | 05/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Something of an Australian folk hero, although originally from Glasgow, Jimmy Barnes is the original 'working class man', the title track and signature tune from his first US release. Having come to prominence with Australian band Cold Chisel, 1987's `Freight Train Heart' was Barnes' second album for Geffen. Mixed for an American audience and recorded with American musicians with some notoriously top flight song-writers-for -hire enlisted during the writing process, `Freight Train Heart' was, if we're being honest here, one of the albums of the eighties and should be in every discerning AOR-fan's Top 30. An Australian Number 1 album, several times platinum, FTH actually flopped in the US, despite being chock-full of absolute classic AOR-radio friendly rock songs. Barnes' voice kinda resembles that of Sammy Hagar's and just oozes cool; it has been described as one part pure AC/DC rasp, one part eternal romantic, and one part master storyteller. The musical accompaniment is faultless; Journey-like in terms of sheer quality. Hardly surprising given that most of the songs were co-produced by ex-Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain in tandem with `Escape' producer Mike Stone. Some of Cain's usual cohorts (Neal Schon, Randy Jackson) provide backing here and have co-write credits with Barnes. With Desmond Child and Jim Vallance also contributing, of course the record sounds highly commercial, but Barnes' commanding voice keeps proceedings rooted in rock. The vocals have a huge emotional quality without ever being overwrought, even on "Waitin' For The Heartache", a balladic anthem co-written by Desmond Child. As usual Neal Schon provides a stunning array of biting solos throughout. Other highlights are the blues-ballad "Too Much Ain't Enough" and the epic "Last Frontier".This album had a sizeable budget behind it, and it shows. Hook-laden although never syrupy. A huge accomplishment. An album for everyone and a classic. Probably as mainstream as AOR ever got. If you missed it first time, it's due for re-release in 2003!"
This is really rocking!
L. B. Ivarsson | Rock City | 05/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jimmy Barnes' "Freight train heart" from 1988 might not be that well known and that's a real shame because this album rocks! It is not heavy metal or hard rock, but more in the musical line of Tom Cochrane. Barnes is an energetic and enthusiastic singer and his rocking version of Bob Dylan's "Seven days" blow away any other attempts (like Joe Cocker's) as well as the original. Other standouts are the attractive pair "Driving wheels" and "Last frontier", together with the melodic and catchy "I'm still on your side"."Freight train heart" is absolutely Jimmy Barnes' finest release and should be of interest to anyone who claims to be a rock fan. If you like the mentioned Tom Cochrane, the rockiest stuff from Tom Petty, John Cougar Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen, I would say that the chance of liking this album is very high."