Saturday, 10 December 2011

The world was on fire and no one could save me but you. It's strange what desire will make foolish people do

Sappy Song Department

“Wicked Game” by Chris Isaac (1989)

Chris got his break when an Atlanta radio station host, obsessed with David Lynch movies started playing the vocal track of “Wicked Game” from the soundtrack of “Wild at Heart”. I remember seeing the movie and not being very impressed. Slowly the requests built for the song and by early 1991 it was a top-ten hit.

In 1991 a compilation of previous songs was put out to capitalize on Chris new found success. It included the mournful “Blue Spanish Sky”, “Wrong to Love You”, and of course “Wicked Game”.

There is a twang of country and rockabilly on his albums and that continued with 1993’s “San Francisco Days”.  This band often reminds me of Canada’s ‘Blue Rodeo’, but with flamenco flair.

1995’s “Forever Blue” opens with the very cool “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” where Chris demonstrates the tremendous range and power of his voice.   With Elvis good-looks and a silky smooth voice, Chris weaves a web of lonesome songs and ballads but failed to chart at the top.

1996’s “Baja Session” is a very smooth album. The band has definitely found its groove as it takes us through originals and classics. Opening with “Pretty Girls Don’t Cry” and “Back on Your Side” and then into an excellent version of Orbison’s “Only the Lonely” it stands the test of time. Songs like “South of the Border” and even “Yellow Bird” are remarkably pulled off with class.  If you were talking about only having one or a few albums on the proverbial desert island, this one merits consideration.

1998’s slicker “Speak of the Devil” did not seem to have the pizzazz of previous efforts, but in 1999 “Baby Done a Bad Bad Thing” was used in  Stanley Kubrick’s weird “Eyes Wide Shut” with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Chris was back in the spot lights   

Chris had his own TV show that ran from 2001-2001 featuring him and his band in their factious backstage adventures. I think I watched it a few times, but can’t say as it had any lasting impact.

‘The Best of Chris Isaac’, released in 2006 is well worth a listen.  

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