Exile – Hang On To Your Heart [1985]

hCountry USA          

Style Country/Southern Rock/WestCoast AOR

Rating 85/100

Band Members Lez Taylor – Vocals,guitars, J.P. Pennington – Guitars,backing vocals, Marlon Hargis – Keyboards, Sonny Lemaire – Bass,backing vocals, Steve Goetzman – Drums

Tracks 01. Promises, Promises, 02. I Could Get Used To You, 03. Hang on to Your Heart, 04. She Likes Her Lovin’, 05. Music, 06. I Got Love (super-duper love), 07. It’ll Be Me, 08. Practice Makes Perfect, 09. She’s Too Good to be True, 10. Proud to be Her Man

Profile The group’s best album of the 1980s (and one of the best country albums of that decade) paired with a record representing one of the key phases in getting them there. The mix of sounds is strange, since the band seems to “devolve” in harmonies and sophistication, as well as originality, between the first ten cuts here (from the later album) and the second. But any CD with “Hang on to Your Heart” on it is worth owning, and it’s interesting and entertaining to compare those cuts with the less-developed work on Exile. The sound is excellent, and the annotation is thorough. “Hang On to Your Heart” was released in July 1985 as the first single and was Exile’s sixth number one country hit.

The single went to number one for one week and spent a total of fifteen weeks on the country chart. There’s not a weak cut, or even a flaccid moment on these ten cuts — four of the songs here were number one hits, but anything here could have been in their place. The songs run the gamut from “She Likes Her Lovin’,” a delightfully libidinous look at love from the distaff side, to “Hang on to Your Heart,” one of the most achingly romantic songs of its era. Side two rocks a little harder than side one, but all of it is very well played and sung even better.

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