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HeymanI just discovered Richard X. Heyman and initial my reaction was – how have I not managed to hear about this guy before now?  His formula is simple: take strong songwriting, apply jangle-filled poprock production, and slather everything with killer Byrdsian harmony vocals. What’s not to love? The readily available albums – Cornerstone, Basic Glee, X – all are worthy additions to your collection. But we are here today to pass some judgment. Heyman asked for it, really. By releasing two versions of his song “Hoosier” how could fans not be expected to take a side on which version they prefer? But the choice is anything but easy.

Hossiers“Hoosier” is a song of longing for a girl from the hoosier state, Indiana. Written in 1999, it appeared on Heyman’s 2000 album, Heyman, Hoosier and Herman under the title “Hoosier (Girl),” with guest vocals provided by Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits fame. Then Heyman released a version with his own vocal on his 2007 release, Actual Sighs. Have a listen to them below to see just where they differ. It’s Heyman’s song so, not surprisingly, he does a great version. The song kicks off with a nice sparkly guitar and organ interplay, with Heyman’s trademark layered background vocals lifting the song to new heights in various places. But, for me, as good as the 2007 version is, it just can’t compete with Noone’s transcendent vocal on the original 2001 release. Though 53 at the time of this recording, Noone had lost none of the magic that made Herman’s Hermits such stars with fans, if not music critics. The music bed is more subdued with Noone – here I prefer the other take – but still, on the whole, the Noone iteration of “Hoosier” just clicks more as a potential hit single. Hoosier (Girl)

Both Richard X. Heyman and Peter Noone are worth looking up. Click on the links to become better acquainted with their ongoing musical exploits.