Kathy Heideman‘s Move With Love is an enigma. Who was Kathy Heideman? Nobody knows. Who played with her? Nobody knows. How many copies exist of this extremely rare record? It’s unknown. What happened to Heideman? That’s a very good question. This isn’t lazy blogger-ism on my part; Move With Love is a record that seemingly fell out of the sky and into “Various H” record bins in one or two stores–with apparently nobody knowing how they got there. As absolutely no context exists for Move With Love, one must take it completely at face value.
Move With Love really isn’t a bad record. Heideman isn’t the strongest or most original vocalist, but she has a quality that puts her in the same category as Emmylou Harris, Judee Sill, or Roseanne Cash. Her backing band is competent, offering a gentle, California-style country-rock accompaniment. The mix of the songs on the album is somewhat muddy, with Heideman’s vocals high in the mix, leading one to think that these were either recorded in a hurry and rather cheaply.
It is with the lyrical content that I must depart from reporting and enter into my own speculation as to who or what this may be. As someone with an interest in cults and the art of cult members, I’m rather struck by a few of the songs found on Move With Love. Opening number “Bob” instantly set off alarms. It’s the tale of a man “borne with love” and is a man who, if “you looked upon his face” and “listened to his voice,” then you know that he “makes the Earth all sweet and good,” and that “if you long for what he is,” then “you’ve been alive.” That the song is accompanied by a soulful, Gospel-style piano melody will leave you wondering what exactly was going on in Ms. Heideman’s life. Additionally, if you grew up in the church in the 1970s, you instantly recognize the sing-along style of “Move With Love” and “Daddy Do” from youth meetings. The most recognizable song from the album, if you can call it that, is “Sleep A Million Years,” is a cryptic song about death that was covered by psych-folk band Vetiver a few years ago, whose cover of the song–as well as the prominence of Move With Love on said album cover–helped to raise interest Heideman.
So, is Move With Love the work of a brainwashed cultist operating under an anonymous moniker (Heideman…sound it out, “hide a man?”) or simply the one-and-done work of a young woman who only had ten songs to give the world? We’ll probably never know, but that’s okay; the mystery adds to the appeal of this record, an amazing artifact from a long-lost era.