Classics Corner: Perfect Heart – “Looking For The Wounded”
February 22, 2008 2 Comments
The year 1992 saw the release of Perfect Heart’s second album, Looking For The Wounded. This was still the original lineup of Danny Funderburk, Dale Shipley, Mark Lanier, and Mike Presnell with Jeff Stice and Aubrey Stephens. I bought the cassette when it came out, and just recently bought the CD from Amazon. This was a big step up from the first major release, It Comes From The Heart.
- I’ve Got An Old Time Religion – Great uptempo opening cut with a great brass section. Dale Shipley sings the verses and does his typical outstanding job. The quartet world really misses the lead voice of Dale Shipley. He is the quintessential lead singer. The harmony on the tag is especially nice.
- The First Look – Great power ballad. The first verse starts with soft, smooth harmony by the group with Shipley doing the last . After the chorus, which is great in its own right, Funderburk takes the second verse and leads to a very powerful chorus that is a bit reminiscent of the type of power Danny had with the Cathedrals. This song is one of the highlights of the disc.
- The Pleasure Is Mine – Kudos to Jeff Stice on the brilliant piano ragtime introduction and interlude on this peppy tune. Shipley has the lead throughout the song. Solid singing, a nice arrangement, especially on the tag, and a great message highlight this very enjoyable tune. The harmony on the last chord is impeccable.
- Glory Waves – Military themed ballad featuring Mike Presnell. Mike has such a smooth, deep bass voice. He really shines on this song. Very evocative lyrics that portray life on earth as a constant battlefield and Heaven the homecoming of the soldiers. Very powerful song, another nice performance by the group on the choruses. Nothing really flashy in terms of the arrangement, but solid power block harmony. Great song.
- I Wish It Would Rain – This is the song that most people remember from the album. This song oozes ’50s doo-wop, and is one of the most unique SG songs recorded in the last 20 years or so. The performance is flawless. Nice sax work by Sam Levine on the track. You could really think you were listening to the Platters, or Danny and the Juniors on this one. It’s complete with Danny F. pulling the “Oooo-weee-ooo-oooh” falsetto ending. This is just an incredibly fun song, but with a great lyric to go along with the unique arrangement.
- In My Wildest Dreams – A gorgeous acappella introduction leads off this mid-tempo number. This was the other big radio single from this project, and was the first single sent to radio. It was fairly successful, if memory serves me correctly, it went top 10, maybe top 5. Shipley shines on the second verse. He keeps the lead through the chorus, then Funderburk takes the third verse and final chorus. Nice cascading harmony on the tag with a power ending finish off this great track.
- Looking For The Wounded – This is a nice soft ballad that returns to the battlefield imagery first used on “Glory Waves”. I particularly like the string arrangement on the introduction. This is a solid song, with some nice sax work again by Levine on the track, which almost has a Kenny G type feel to it. Mark Lanier takes the first verse, with Danny taking the second before getting into the chorus. It’s probably the weakest song on the CD, but is still a solid song, nonetheless. If I were rating tracks on this CD like I do for actual reviews, it would probably get a 6, so it’s still a nice song with some really smooth harmony.
- Mercy Fell On Me – Uptempo, in-your-face tune that really contrasts from the soft “Looking For The Wounded”. Mark Lanier sings the verses, with each group member taking the lead on a line of the chorus. A nice key change leads to the second chorus. They then invert some of the harmony on a repeat of the chorus. The ending could have been stronger, but still a solid cut.
- Yes Is The Answer – Mid-tempo 3-4 song that was also a fairly successful single from the album. Dale Shipley sings the verses, and turns in one of his finest performances with Perfect Heart. This song was made for Dale’s voice. I can’t say enough about his lead singing. He’s everything you want in your lead singer, and shows it on this song. After the second chorus they change keys and Funderburk takes the lead on another chorus. Nice tag and a high power ending bring this song to its conclusion. Highlight number 2 of 3 on this album.
- How Rich I Am – Wow. Just wow. Here’s highlight number 3. Incredible acappella performance of a song previously recorded by the Imperials. I happen to like this arrangement better than even the Imperials version. It is fairly close to the Imperials’ arrangement for most of the song, but they change up a couple of chords in the middle of the song that become unworldly in their beauty. A sweet harmonic end to a great album.
This album was a major step up for Perfect Heart, and really showed that they belonged with the big boys at the time. Not surprising, given the enormous amount of talent in this lineup and a producer like Otis Forrest. If you have a copy of this recording, dust it off and give it another listen. If you don’t, find one on Ebay or Amazon. You won’t be sorry.