Tim Feehan – Carmalita [1983]


Tim Feehan has a voice that is amongst the best of the “high pitch” west coast singers, he is in the same category as Joseph Williams, Jason Scheff, Clif Magness, Richard Marx etc. His music is a mix between Chicago, Toto and Richard Marx.

Feehan got his start iin the Canadian band, Footloose. After achieving moderate success in his native Canada on a small handful of singles, Feehan opted to pursue a solo career. “Carmalita” is Tim’s second solo album, following on from “Sneak Preview”, released originally in 1983 and combines a good soft westcoast with an AOR touch, before the more orientated years rolled in. “Carmalita” is pleasant enough from start to finish. It’s predominantly mid tempo lite AOR with relatively catchy melodies however that really sets it apart from any other mid tempo lite AOR of the same era. All of the songs are enjoyable and Feehan’s voice is consistently strong and very easy on the ears.

The opening track “Carmalita” it is awesome with a capital A. Very well polished, if someone were to only read the lyrics within the albums booklet without having a listen they wouldn’t be too out of line to say some of the lyrics would seem cheesy. The arrangement is truly excellent and cannot be faulted what so ever, while Tim’s voice really shines through, pulling everything off perfectly and without fault. It is probably the most melodic track on the whole album, some subtle hints of guitar, both electric and acoustic. “January” is really a beautiful and uplifting track. We start off with a very slow tempo then as each time the chorus plays we are introduced to far faster keyboard piece. The bridge between the two however isn’t as well done as it could be. The keyboard piece doesn’t fade out as much as almost stop abruptly with only Tim’s voice to carry us through, while there’s a lovely sax solo that worth. “Wrong Number” is a true stand out track, far more rock oriented than the previous two and utterly brilliant. Great use of guitar and bass, yet intermingled with some of the keyboard pieces which are used throughout the album. The lyrics are great, some of the best on the album and some of the best within’ Tim’s whole career actually. “Alone” is a very sad and slow paced song. Again, completely different from the first three tracks lyrics-wise. In a sad way, it’s really quite beautiful. Beautifully arranged, beautifully sung, beautifully played. It’s a tale of sadness, the unwanted and untold suffering of a social recluse. “Over & Over” it’s good.

A solid performance if not as individual as most of the rest of the album. Probably the best part of this is Tim’s voice. It’s a typical sort of love song but quite repetitive. Always seems as if it’s going somewhere, but ends up well, nowhere. The same apply to “Bad Sister” and really don’t know what to make out of it. It’s a very rock orientated, and not one of my favorites on this record. “Take Her by Surprise”, is a brilliant, absolutely fantastic song. A great build up leading up the chorus every time. Piano throughout complemented perfectly in places by some awesome guitar riffs. There is some repetitiveness but it’s perfectly placed and only really adds to the song. A well placed guitar solo towards the end sets the pace for the last minute of the song. “Wait One More Day” starts off a bit like an R&B track, then that’s driven back by a single strong swipe of the electric guitar after a moment the pace livens up muchly. “Never Say Die” is another beautiful song, another stand out track while we heard the duet of Tim and Vickie Moss on vocals. I really wish Tim and Moss did more than just one song because they really are a perfect partnership, their vocal styles complement each other perfectly. Beautiful songwriting, beautifully performed and arranged brilliantly. Piano used throughout to great effect. “Sadie J” sadly is the final track, however it is absolutely awesome. This song sums up the 80s for me, embodies what is great about the genre and especially Tim Feehan. His voice has never sounded better and was never used to greater effect than here in this track. Strong piano adds to the great build up the chorus.

For a moment, remind yourself that this album was released in the eighties and excuse the ever so unfortunate cover art and enjoy this brilliant record. With stronger material and more passionate music from the session cats backing him up, Feehan’s career might have gone on a much stronger trajectory than it did.

Band Members
Tim Feehan – Vocals
Holm Pedersen – Prophet and Hammond
Donovan Reimer – Oberheim Obxa
Jim Pinchin – Sax
John MacPherson – Trombone
James Keene, Tom Johnson, Broder-YCK Olson, Marlin Wolfe, Delores Vann, Mary Cockell – Violins
Colin Ryan – Cello
Doug Rusu – String & Horn Arrangements
Torben, Trevor Dunn, Ma Fletcher, Ron Vaugeois, Cliff Minchau – Additional Musicians
Vickie Moss – Vocal on “Never say die”

01. Carmalita (3:45)
02. January (4:41)
03. Wrong Number (3:17)
04. Alone (4:39)
05. Bad Sister (4:24)
06. Over And Over (3:33)
07. Take Her By Surprise (4:38)
08. Wait One More Night (4:17)
09. Never Say Die (3:51)
10. Sadie J (4:19)

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