I first became aware of Jimmy Helms when I heard his contributions to Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover’s solo album ‘The Butterfly Ball’ and Eddie Hardin’s ‘Wizard’s Convention’. On both of those recordings Jimmy Helms’ singing was soulful, deep and full of feeling. His contribution to ‘The Butterfly Ball’ as the kingfisher being one of the albums vocal highlights even amongst such heavyweight rock vocalists as David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes and Ronnie James Dio.
The next time he came to my attention he was singing as part of the group Londonbeat representing the UK in the Eurovision song contest. To be honest at first I didn’t think it could possibly be the same person but on further investigation it turned out that it was and I found their albums to be quite enjoyable.
So when I discovered this in a box on the floor marked up at £2 each or any three for a fiver at a record fair I was more than a little delighted. Sadly though it turned out to be something of a disappointment.
Now, some decade or so later it has come out for reviewing and I was hoping my initial reaction to it may have been harsh. However, the notes I made whilst rating the album include the comments: cheesy, over orchestrated, monotonous and boring. Worse still it veers into Johnny Mathis territory at times too.
The better tracks are ‘Don’t Pull Your Love’ which is noticably produced by a different producer to the rest of the album and ‘I Who Have Nothing’ which really gets the overblown big band treatment. ‘Hey Babalon’, ‘More Than That’ and despite the Johnny Mathis similarity ‘Is It So Wrong’.
The rest of the album is pretty uninspiring and Helms’ voice is watered down in a mush of that horrible mid seventies middle of the road turning into disco sound.
Jimmy Helms is a fine singer and deserved better songs, better arrangements and better production. Had he got them I’m sure this wouldn’t have been his final solo album.
© Martin Leedham. First published on RYM June 2010