Heart – Dog & Butterfly (1978)

Heart_DogButterfly4 out of 5 Stars!

I clearly recall the controversy from many fans and critics when Dog & Butterfly came out in ’78, with numerous people considering it too mellow for Heart. Yet I found Dog & Butterfly to be the band’s most accomplished release up to that point, well-produced and often mesmerizing, with a seemingly perfect balance of electric and acoustic tracks, and some of the most beautiful melodies the band ever recorded.

The live “Cook With Fire” leads off the “Dog” side of the album with a mighty wallop, while the catchy “High Time,” the slinky “Hijinx,” and the memorable “Straight On” (the second single released from the album) are as good as anything the band released on its previous records, and in my opinion, any of them could have been released as singles.

From the softer “Butterfly” side, the chorus to the title track (the initial single off the album) is simply and utterly haunting, ringing in my mind for days and days after first hearing it, and it still remains one of my favorite Heart tunes of all time, while “Mistral Wind” is probably one of the finest tracks in the band’s entire catalogue, being a mixture of acoustic Folk Rock and electric Hard Rock, and almost Progressive Rock with its gripping, dramatic fade-out section and Ann Wilson’s siren-like vocals.

Now, I’ll admit, after all these many years, I still feel rather blasé about the middle two tracks on the “Butterfly” side (“Lighter Touch” and “Nada One”)—not that there’s anything wrong with either song, mind you, it’s just that there’s no special “magic” about them either, or at least nothing that “hit” me as magical, nothing too memorable, just fairly basic tunes with decent melodies, decent arrangements, and decent performances.

But regardless of the two “so-so” tunes, Dog & Butterfly still remains one of my favorite Heart releases, and typically when I crave hearing the band, this is the album toward which I most often gravitate. Beautiful work!

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