March 24, 2012

Just leaving this here

Someone took the trouble to upload America's wonderful 2nd album, Homecoming.  (link)

A couple of comments:

  • There used to be these things called "albums".
  • Many America albums are two hits plus some filler, but Homecoming, for whatever reason, is notable for consistently fine songwriting and musicianship.
  • This was a moment: November 1972.  Politically, election time.  War fatigue, riot fatigue, Watergate emerging.  Average Baby Boomer was about 19.
  • American folk rock was on the march.  Jackson Browne's first album came out earlier in the year, the Eagles' Desperado a few months after Homecoming.
    • Yes, that's a banjo on "Don't Cross the River". 
  • The Beatles had tried some folk rock ideas on the Let It Be sessions (e.g., "Two of Us") but abandoned the idea and went back to rock, ballad, and re-mix on Abbey Road.  
  • One odd thing about America is how - in otherwise almost perfect songs - they would just punt on rhyme lines.  "Alligator lizards in the air..."  Really?
  • This is America pre-George Martin.  Martin helped transform them into pop titans,  overlaying strings, adding his keyboard skills to "Tin Man", and even remixed some of the early tunes (e.g., Ventura Highway) for The Greatest Hits album.  But they were good before Martin, and Homecoming is the best evidence of how accomplished they already were.


Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

I always like America. There's a popular indie folk-rock band that I live very much, Fleet Foxes, that reminds me of America. Of course, most of their fans would be aghast at the comparison.

March 24, 2012 at 6:23 PM  
Blogger Author said...

Call me aghast.

March 24, 2012 at 6:50 PM  
Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

The Fleet Foxes page on lists 14 acts under "Influenced by," the first of which is: America.

So there.

March 24, 2012 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

This is why Music Court is needed.

March 24, 2012 at 8:06 PM  
Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

Ain't it foggy outside
All the planes have been

Did you know George Harrison wrote that song?

March 24, 2012 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

No...! In my gratuitous 600-word denunciation of Let It Be as an underachievement marred by ennui, cynicism, and under-rehearsal - which I deleted - I noted that of the Beatles, Harrison was the only one who seemed to get American folk rock.

I think the reason the British had so much trouble with the new subgenre was that it deleted what they always thought was essential to American music, the primal energy, which they equated with rebellion. A song like "Ventura Highway", carried mainly on the strength of acoustic guitars played in the higher registers, probably just didn't seem tough enough.

Tough or not, I think "Ventura Highway" was rebellious in that uniquely American way of reminding people that there is a place called America and at certain times and in certain places you can just walk around in it and be yourself, and no cares if you're from Brixton, Pooughkeepsie, or Anchorage.

It sure as hell made me want to go to wherever the Ventura Highway is. Still does.

March 24, 2012 at 8:50 PM  
Blogger Author said...

The amount of words to make me like the band America does not exist.

March 25, 2012 at 12:03 AM  
Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

Author: why do you hate America?

March 25, 2012 at 2:01 PM  
Blogger Author said...

Zou Bisou Bisou

March 26, 2012 at 2:55 PM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

Something something precious bodily fluids....Danger, Will Robinson!

March 26, 2012 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger Viceroy De Los Osos said...

I am surprised that you haven't rambled on regarding the significance of "The Best of Bread" or how you first made love to Seals and Crofts. That was harsh. I apologize.

March 29, 2012 at 4:09 PM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

You know too much.

March 29, 2012 at 8:39 PM  

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