Size: 90.4 MB
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster
America's debut album is a folk-pop classic, a stellar collection of memorable songs that would prove influential on such acts as the Eagles and Dan Fogelberg. Crosby, Stills & Nash are the group's obvious stylistic touchstone here, especially in the vocal harmonies used (compare the thick chordal singing of "Sandman" and "Children" to CS&N's "You Don't Have to Cry" and "Guinevere") and the prominent use of active strummed acoustic guitar arrangements (contrast "Riverside" to CS&N's "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes"). America's intricate interplay of acoustic guitar textures is more ambitious than that of their influences, however. Performance quality is usually good, though on occasion sloppily executed or out of tune (especially on the openings to "Donkey Jaw" and "I Never Found the Time").
Lengthy instrumental introductions ("Donkey Jaw"), middle improvisatory interludes ("Here"), and closings ("Clarice") are frequently encountered. Most of these selections boast highly unusual and inventive chord progressions that work well without drawing undue attention to themselves. Lyrics are sometimes trite ("I need you/Like the flower needs the rain") or obscure ("He flies the sky/Like an eagle in the eye/Of a hurricane that's abandoned"), but the music more than makes up for any verse problems; only the odd "Pigeon Song" seems an unsalvageable misstep.
Sound quality here has a covered, intimate feel that lends a ghostly aura to this release. Chart hits from this album include the spectrally loping "A Horse with No Name," the squarishly tuneful "I Need You," and the nervously dour "Sandman." Other highlights include the buoyantly charming "Three Roses," the yearningly lovely "Rainy Day," and the quietly ringing "Clarice." In spite of its flaws, this platter is very highly recommended.
America was a light folk-rock act of the early '70s who had several Top Ten hits, including the number ones "A Horse with No Name" and "Sister Golden Hair." Vocalists/guitarists Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley met while they were still in high school in the late '60s; all three were sons of U.S. Air Force officers who were stationed in the U.K. After they completed school in 1970, they formed an acoustic folk-rock quartet called Daze in London, which was soon pared down to the trio of Bunnell, Peek, and Beckley. Adopting the name America, the group landed a contract with Jeff Dexter, a promoter for the Roundhouse concert venue. Dexter had America open for several major artists and the group soon signed with Warner Bros. Records. By the fall of 1970, the group was recording their debut album in London, with producers Ian Samwell and Jeff Dexter.
"A Horse with No Name," America's debut single, was released at the end of 1971. In January 1972, the song — which strongly recalled the acoustic numbers of Neil Young — became a number three hit in the U.K. The group's self-titled debut album followed the same stylistic pattern and became a hit as well, peaking at number 14. Following their British success, America returned to North America, beginning a supporting tour for the Everly Brothers. "A Horse with No Name" was released in the U.S. that spring, where it soon became a number one single, pushing Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" off the top of the charts; America followed the single to the top of the charts. "I Need You" became another Top Ten hit that summer, and the group began work on their second album. "Ventura Highway," the first single released from this collaboration, became their third straight Top Ten hit in December of 1972. In the beginning of 1973, America won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist of 1972.
Homecoming was released in January of 1973, becoming a Top Ten hit in the U.S. and peaking at number 21 in the U.K. America's essential sound didn't change with this record; it just became more polished. However, the hits stopped coming fairly soon — they had only one minor Top 40 hit in 1973. Hat Trick, the group's third album, was released toward the end of 1973; it failed to make it past number 28 on the American charts. Released in the late fall of 1974, Holiday was the first record the group made with producer George Martin. Holiday returned America to the top of the charts, peaking at number three and launching the hit singles "Tin Man" and "Lonely People." "Sister Golden Hair," pulled from 1975's Hearts, became their second number one single. That same year, the group released History: America's Greatest Hits, which would eventually sell over four million copies.
01. Riverside Bunnell 3:02
02. Sandman Bunnell 5:03
03. Three Roses Bunnell 3:54
04. Children Bunnell 3:07
05. A Horse With No Name Bunnell 4:10
06. Here Beckley 5:30
07. I Need You Beckley 3:04
08. Rainy Day Peek 3:00
09. Never Found the Time Peek 3:50
10. Clarice Beckley 4:00
11. Donkey Jaw Peek 5:17
12. Pigeon Song Bunnell 2:17