ARTIST: Chris Isaak
YEAR RELEASED: 1985
CHART ACTION: None in the US
SINGLES: Dancin’, Gone Ridin’, Livin’ for Your Lover
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No. Dancin’ and Gone Ridin’ were in some soundtracks and TV shows, including the movie Blue Velvet and 90210.
LINEUP: Chris Isaak, James Calvin Wilsey, Prairie Prince, Chris Solberg with some session help
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Isaak’s debut sets the stage – moody songs powered by a guitar full of reverb, delay, vibrato and hints of pedal steel. Oh, and his distinctive voice is there from the word ‘go’, of course.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Isaak’s recording career established his modus operandi, that’s for sure. Moody guitar sounds with a voice of a crooner that can reach Roy Orbison tenor vibrato at the turn of a dime.
At times, this album seems almost too much like an Orbison tribute, as some of the arrangements (vocal and instrumental) sound right from the hey day of Big Roy O. However, Isaak has the chops to pull it off, especially on a song like Tears.
It’s no wonder movie and TV producers love to use his stuff – it sets a great atmosphere without being intrusive.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Isaak was almost 30 when this was released. He graduated valedictorian from HS and went through community college and the University of Pacific in seven years.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The US version has an extra track. Yay us!
GRADE: A-: A great debut.