Randy Van Warmer is best known for his 1979 smash hit ‘Just When I Needed You Most’ (there is a lovely acoustic version of the song on this CD). He sadly passed away in 2004 but not before he managed to complete ‘Sings Stephen Foster’. Stephen Foster was a US songwriter from the 19th century and often quoted as the ‘father of American music’.
On this album Randy Van Warmer covered some of Foster’s well known numbers including ‘The Camptown Races’ (done here in a very laid back style), ‘Oh! Susanna’ and ‘Angelina Baker’ (again a wonderful west coast AOR feel to the music). All in all a very enjoyable listen and one that until now has had a very limited release.
The other album on here is ‘The Vital Spark’ recorded and released back in 1992. Randy Van Camper has a very smooth, melodic voice and suits the music which recalls the 70′s soft rock sound and the 80′s AOR of bands like Chicago. Mick Ronson (David Bowie/Mott The Hoople) also plays on the album, along with Shayne Fontayne of Lone Justice fame.
Personal highlights include the gentle pop of the title track and ”I Will Whisper Your Name’. The music on here is a nice mix of AOR, country, pop and a little blues. Mind you at times you’d be hard pressed to know the album featured two prominent guitarists!
One for soft rock/AOR fans and the Stephen Foster disc is an interesting curio in the way that the songs have been arranged. 3/5
Jason Ritchie, www.getreadytorock.com (June 2011)
(The Vital Spark)…a record built around Van Warmer’s sweet vocals and features any number of songs that could have been country hits…
(Sings Stephen Foster) A beautiful and deeply moving album…
Nick Dalton, Maverick (July 2011)
…an excellent snapshot of Randy van Warmer’s music and is tremendous value for money as well
Fireworks (Sept/Oct 2011)
These two albums are the real rarities in his catalogue…The Vital Spark was recorded in 1992…It’s superior 80s pop rock, polished and catchy – perfect radio fare. Randy bravely tackles some of the most parodies Foster songs. This was clearly a labour of love…
R2 Magazine (October 2011)