Label: Sun Hill/Playground 2012
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Originally released in the mid-nineties (1994) as "Care Of My Soul", now re-released, re-entitled (Care Of My Soul Vol.1), re-mastered, re-arranged (tracklisting), including two previously unreleased tracks plus new artwork and as digipack (phew). Mark Spiro is perhaps mostly known as the U.S. songwriter merely second to Desmond Child and Diane Warren in the late eighties/early nineties. His (co-)work sold a total of approx. 100 million copies with the likes of Bad English, Cheap Trick, Giant, Heart, Julian Lennon, Mr. Big, Winger, etc.
I have recently been going through the seventies era after spending many years in constant fear of their weird looking artists and bands. That's a rather strange note to include in the Mark Spiro review? Well, merely trying to point out that I now appreciate the ultra soft singer/songwriter style of Simon/Garfunkel, Cat Stevens as well the superb westcoast, yacht music of Christopher Cross, etc. etc. Regarding Spiro and his old album, it's definitely not a problem of being too soft or laidback... but do NOT expect this to rock or AOR at all really.
Soft spoken verse followed by the great refrain, the opening title track definitely sets the pace and standard of the album. It's the Stevie Wonder harmonica as well as banjo (huh?) to be found on "Wheels May Rust", while other tracks may remind you of the laidback work of Sting (the former Police singer/bassist). "Drop In The Ocean", highly inspired by the Paul Simon sound of the mid/late eighties and the same goes for several other tracks by the way.
I clearly remember hearing this CD for the first time in the very late nineties and ended up truly disappointed. I couldn't understand the ultra soft melodies and almost jazzy arrangements since we expected it to rock 'ala Giant or Bad English. I do get it nowadays, but it's clearly not AOR (simply remove this particular thought out of your head). It's the folk-rock, westcoast, Sting, Paul Simon, type of arrangements with the occasional hint of Steely Dan and overall beautifully crafted melodies. Nice but ever so laidback...