Garage Sale Vinyl
Garage Sale Vinyl: Bob Welch

Garage Sale Vinyl: Bob Welch

Three Hearts / Capitol Records / February 1979

Truth be told, I was just goofin’ with the guy — the fella I’d spotted standing over at the cream and sugar station.

Welcome to Starbucks! What can I get started for you this morning?

I recognized “Hank,” as he was a well-known, leading figure on Florida’s east coast blues scene. Simply put, Hank LIVED for the blues. Having seen the classic lineup recently on their (then) farewell / reunion tour, the iconic, formerly blues-based band was fresh on my mind. So, I approached Hank with a snarky inquiry, sure to elicit a lively response. “Hey, man! What do you think of Fleetwood Mac?” Despite my own prominent 35-year presence in the local music community, Hank had no clue who I was, as he glared and snarled, “I have ZERO use for Fleetwood Mac in ANY form!”

Conversely, I’ve had TOTAL use for Fleetwood Mac in ALL forms, ever since (like most humans) I first discovered the Brit / Yank hybrid back in 1975, when they soared into the stratosphere with their self-titled breakout record. While I appreciate much of the band’s ’60s-era blues-inspired music and embrace some of the band’s ’90s-era less-compelling efforts, I will admit gleefully to being particularly passionate about the band’s pre-megastar-era of the early ’70s — that beautiful, yet brief period from ‘71-‘74 when American guitar slinger, Bob Welch, was on board — in fact, I consider the band’s 1973 album Mystery to Me one of the mightiest of the Mac catalog.

A couple of years following his departure from Fleetwood Mac, Welch dropped his dazzling 1977 debut solo record, French Kiss. Birthing an impressive three Top 40 singles, the album achieved platinum-selling, U.S. Top 20 success. Packing only a smidge less punch, Welch’s 1979 sophomore set Three Hearts went gold and also reached the U.S. Top 20. More than 40 years later, Bob Welch’s first few solo records remain among my personal favorites. So, I was thrilled recently when the GF discovered a well-loved used vinyl copy of Three Hearts stashed in the back of a bargain bin at a flea market in Mount Dora, Florida. Everything in that section is six for $20.

Produced by John Carter (Sammy Hagar, The Motels, Tina Turner) and Richard Dashut (Fleetwood Mac, The Dream Academy, Matthew Sweet), Three Hearts remains a faithful companion record to French Kiss.

Fueled by Welch’s signature-style guitar chug, the opening title track forced me, as a frustrated teenager, to roll down the windows of my dad’s baby blue ‘78 Chevy Chevette, ease the seat back, and drive (anywhere) FAST — taking my eyes off the road (only briefly) to occasionally adjust the matchbook wedged between the 8-track cartridge and the player. CAH-CLUNK!

Owning a heart-racing chorus and heart-aching lyrics, “Oh Jenny” also reflects “textbook” Welch and serves as one of the record’s most irresistible standouts. However, the somewhat pedestrian remake of “I Saw Her Standing There” serves as one of the record’s rare missteps.

Another sunny delight, “Here Comes the Night” oozes the soaring orchestration that made French Kiss so uniquely wonderful, while “China” packs so much guitar punch, I still gotta protect my privates every time I spin it. But not even the contribution of powerhouse Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood could polish the rather dull “The Ghost of Flight 401.” Yet, residing somewhere near the top of the “win” column, the Top 20 hit “Precious Love” is an infectious banger, indeed.

Another of Welch’s former bandmates, Christine McVie, provides lovely vocals on “Come Softly to Me.” Sadly, not even her alluring brand of honey could sweeten this otherwise bitter pill. Witchy woman, Stevie Nicks, shows up to the party (late) and successfully casts a white-winged vocal spell on the haunting, “Devil Wind.”

A legit display of true selflessness and genuine love, I gave this one to the GF upon returning home from our Mount Dora flea market excursion. I just KNOW she’s gonna LOVE it! To my chagrin, a couple of weeks later, she gave it back! “It’s okay,” she confessed. Eh, what does she know about rock and roll anyway? Heck, she’s only in her fifties.

(4/5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

photo by Christopher Long

Three Hearts Track List

SIDE ONE

  1. 3 Hearts (Welch) – 3:23

  1. Oh Jenny (Welch) – 4:17

  1. I Saw Her Standing There (Lennon / McCartney) – 2:53

  1. Here Comes the Night (Welch) – 3:03

  1. China (Welch) – 3:21

  1. The Ghost of Flight 401 (Welch) – 3:16

SIDE TWO

  1. Precious Love (Welch) – 3:12

  1. Church (Welch) – 3:06

  1. Come Softly to Me (Troxel, Christopher, Ellis) – 2:42

  1. Devil Wind (Welch) – 4:03

  1. Don’t Wait Too Long (Welch) – 3:50

  1. Little Star (Welch) – 3:41

Bob Welch


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