Jump to content
James

America´s 1st album

Recommended Posts

James   

We don´t talk about this group so much here, but I¨d guess a lot of us owned/own at least some of their albums.  I¨ve got them all thru "Harbor" and a couple later albums also.

Their first one "America" was an acoustic album, with percussion and some electric leads here and there, but as for acoustic based albums, their debut  is the tops for me. With each succeeding album they incorporated more production, and did it well, though I´d say their first album is still their best, their flagship piece of work.

I´m going to rank the songs from the album. If you got it, pull it out of your collection, give it a listen and rank the tunes!

Mine:

1. "Sandman"....rocks hard, still  their rockingest song
2. "I Need You".....hard to beat this Gerry Beckley beauty
3. "Never Found the Time"....one of 3 Dan Peek written tunes, all 3 are stellar
4. "Here"....Gerry Beckley pace changing song a la "I Can Remember"
5. "Donkey Jaw"...harder edged Peek tune
6. "Riverside"....sometimes I think it´s their best song. Opens the album, was probably a nice live opener also.
7. "A Horse with no name"
8:  "Clarice"
9. "Rainy Day"
10. "Children"
11. "Three Roses"
12. "Pigeon Song".....last but not bad, there are no bad songs on this album.
 
 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kirk   

I have America's greatest hits, but that's it. Recognize a couple songs from the top 40- I Need You, A Horse With No Name- my favorite? Sister Golden Hair, although it should probably be Ventura Highway since I live in Camarillo. BTW, my favorite America song not done by America is this gem:

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own EVERY America album. The rank right up there as one of my favorite bands. I will definitely rank this album.

It seems that with a lot of my favorite artists, I always have an album that even their own fans overlook or don't recognize as very good, that I love. (Ex. Time-ELO, Arrival-Journey, Meatloaf-Welcome To The Neighborhood, etc)

With America, that album is View From The Ground from 1982. James mentioned having their albums through Harbor, and that does seem to be the cutoff point for most fans. I actually enjoyed Silent Letter & Alibi quite a bit. View From The Ground has one of my favorite unknown America songs on it...Inspector Mills. A quirky, maybe corny song, but I love it. I'm not sure why, but I seem to enjoy when the writer changes only one word from each chorus in a song to give it a subtle lyrical progression. Notice in Inspector Mills, chorus 1: "she'd be standing here still", chorus 2: "she'd be sitting here still, chorus 3: she'd be lying here still

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On to business.... America (1971)

1. Sandman

2. I  Need You

3. Riverside

4. Never Found The Time

5. A Horse With No Name

6. Donkey Jaw

7. Here

8. Three Roses

9. Pigeon Song

10. Children

11. Rainy Day

12. Clarice

 

I never seem to be in the mood to listen to this album from beginning to end. An all acoustic album that I don't think has strong enough melodies to keep me interested. Having said that, there really isn't anything awful on here. Incorporated into a large America playlist on random play, most of these songs hold their own. The first five are very good. Pigeon would probably rank higher if it was a bit longer. Not sure why I like Children at all, but I do (very weird melodically, I think).

Looking forward to ranking some more America.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
James   

Nice posts Craig. I know the band´s material, but you know it better. Look forward to you posting more here.

I´m going to give "Homecoming" a listen tonight and rank it here. I know the songs, but it´s been a long while since I´ve listened to it straight thru.

P.S. For those who want to hear America´s masterpiece, below is a song called "Hat Trick".  It´s an 8 minute beauty from their 3rd album of the same name, and consists of several songs/melodies strung together as one. I never understood why nobody talked about that song. I still have not met a person, online or real life, who gets/sees that song like I do.

Here it is:
 



James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Homecoming (1972)

1. Ventura Highway
2. Only In Your Heart
3. To Each His Own
4. Don't Cross The River
5. Till The Sun Comes Up Again
6. California Revisited
7. Head And Heart
8. Cornwall Blank
9. Moon Song
10. Saturn Nights

No need to skip anything here. If you have the CD, just insert, hit play, and enjoy. When you have songs like Moon Song & Saturn Nights at #9 & #10, you know it's a very good album. James beat me to adding it to the "No Bad Songs" thread. It definitely deserves it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
James   

1. Saturn Nights.....Peek's chorus is so strong

2. Moon Song......Sandman's little brother.

3. Dont  cross the river

4. Till the sun comes up again

5. California revisited

6.Ventura Highway...deserves higher but got.sick of it and never recovered

7. Only in your heart

8. To each his own

9. Cornwall Blank

10. Head & heart

All songs good or very good. Agree with Craig's review of the album as a whole.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
James   

While I'm on an America binge, here's my rating of the songs from their 3rd album, Hat Trick:

1. Hat Trick.....as I said before, a 9 minute string of cool little melodies contributed by each of the 3 bandmates...where the song is even greater than the sum of its wonderful parts. The best piece of music in their catolog...their genius moment.

2. Goodbye...typical Beckley written uber catchy melody.

3. Muskrat Love......I know, I know, but Iike it !!

4. Green Monkey....some adroit electric rocking here.

5. Rainbow Song....nice melody from Dewey.

6. Willow Tree Lullaby

7. Submarine Ladies

8. She's Gonna Let You Down

9. It's Life

10. Wind Wave..1st song in 3 albums I don't like

11. Molten Love..2nd one I don't like.

For me, right there with the 1st 2, overall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hat Trick (1973)

1. She's Gonna Let You Down
2. Submarine Ladies
3. Goodbye
4. Hat Trick
5. It's Life
6. Wind Wave
7. Muskrat Love
8. Rainbow Song
9. Willow Tree
10. Green Monkey
11. Molten Monkey

 

I like everything up to and including Rainbow Song. The last three are skips for me to get to Goodbye. Muskrat Love has definitely been impacted by Captain & Tennille's version. I can almost hear those stupid muskrats now when I listen to this. Still not a bad song. My least favorite America album of the first three.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm gonna keep going with this...

Holiday (1974)

1. Lonely People
2. Another Try
3. Tin Man
4. Glad To See You
5. Baby It's You
6. Mad Dog
7. What Does It Matter
8. Old Man Took
9. You
10. Miniature
11. In The Country
12. Hollywood

In my book, this is another small step backwards. I do think that the 1 thru 8 are pretty solid. Only two singles released...Tin Man & Lonely People. A third release was a Dan Peek song that was on the Japanese version of this album, but not the U.S., a song entitled "Simple Life". It did nothing on the charts, though I think it's a quality tune. I also think "Another Try" would have seen success if that had been released.  The trumpets in "You" are a turn off for me, otherwise I'd like it more. Once again, the last three are throwaway's for me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
James   

Holiday, America´s 4th album, first one of a few produced by George Martin

1. Lonely People - Dan Peek hist his Grand Slam with this song.
2. Baby it´s up to you - as I´ve written on other threads, this one should have been a single. A perfect little melody that jangles.
3. Glad to see you - another littlee gem from Dan Peek.
4. Miniature - the album´s opening overture - leads into "Tin Man" like Desp Fools Overture leads into "Haven´t We Come a Long Way". Dewey Bunnel wrote Tin Man, Gerry
     Beckley wrote this overture, which I think is very good.
5. Another Try
6. Mad Dog - this album was the first of a few that George Martin produced. He did a good job, but I liked the group´s production on the earlier albums better. This is one song
      where you can hear Martin´s contributions, for sure. And he made this song better than it would have been without him.
7. Tin Man - really a good song, possibly I heard it too much back in the day. But I do still enjoy the song.
8. What Does it Matter
9.  You
10, Hollywood
11. In the Country
12. Old Man Took

I like them all through #10. The last 2 could have been left off the album. But I like the album a lot overall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hearts (1975)

1. Sister Golden Hair
2. Daisy Jane
3. Woman Tonight
4. Tomorrow
5. Seasons
6. Bell Tree
7. Midnight
8. Company
9. Old Virginia
10. The Story Of A Teenager
11. Half Man
12. People In The Valley

In my opinion, they absolutely picked the best three as singles. I like 4 thru 11 but they aren't extraordinary. Only song I don't like is People In The Valley.

James, I hope you rate this album too. I'm interested to see what you think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
James   

Hearts

1. Tomorrow - Dan Peak creates another classic melody, and hints at his future of Christianity
2. Daisy Jane - Gerry Beckley hits a couple Grand Slams with this one and Sister Golden Hair
3. Sister Golden Hair
4. Old Virginia - profound melody from Dan Peek again, it´s got the potential to be a classic type song.
5. Company - was probably my favorite from back in the day. Dewey Bunnell mixing his rock and melody genes here.
6. Woman Tonight - 3rd single from the album, fun song with cool production.
7. Seasons
8. The Story of a Teenager
9. Bell Tree
10. Half a Man
11. People in the Valley
12. Midnight

To me Craig, this is less consistent than the earlier albums, but just as good based on the top songs. It´s a top heavy album, where I really like 1 - 6, and the rest I can do without, though I would not call any of them bad songs and I don´t skip them when listening to the album.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
James   

Craig, I´m going to rate Hideaway in a little while. But that´s the last one I feel qualified to rate. I own Harbor and some after it, but don´t know the songs well enough to rate them...at least at this point. 

But I´d love to see you rate Harbor and the rest you own, ...would point me in the right direction re: purchasing and listening.

James

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
James   

Hideaway

1. Can´t You See - Peek peaking here, short little song, simple, but so great.
2. Today´s the Day - Peek tune, first single from the album. It´s a great song, 8th wonder of the world how it didn´t sell a ton given its quality, and that it followed the mega hits from Hearts.
3. Amber Cascades -  2nd single release from the album. I remember hearing it one time on the radio, on WTVN am, my Mom´s station (news, some talk, elevator music). Beautiful song, 
     love the acoustic work, would have loved the final acoustic jam to have lasted at least another 30 seconds.
4. Don´t Let it Get You Down - probably doesn´t deserve #4 here, but I love it cuz I used to sing it to myself when I´d get mad when playing competitive tennis for my school. I had a temper and hated to lose even a point, and truth is singing this song to myself helped me control my head. So I´ve got sentimental bias here.
5. Lovely Night - high quality Gerry Beckley album opener.
6.. Jet Boy Blue
7 . Watership Down - some parts of this song are tremendous, others not so much.
8.  Who Loves You
9. The Hideaway instrumentals - cool Dewey Bunnell out of the box composition.
10.  She´s Beside You
11. Letter - it´s #11 but still a strong song, testimony to the consistency of this album.
4.   She´s a Liar

Truth is, not a bad song on this album. It might be my favorite of their´s after the debut. The paradox is this album is very good, but it started their downhill trajectory re: commercial sales.

Ok Señor Craig, you´re up to bat !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hideaway (1976)

1. Today's The Day
2. Can't You See
3. Watership Down
4. Lovely Night
5. She's Beside You
6. Amber Cascades
7. She's A Liar
8. Letter
9. Don't Let It Get You Down
10. Jet Boy Blue
11. Hideaway Pts 1 & 2
12. Who Loves You

Not a bad song on this album, and I rank it as my second favorite album at the time of release. (between Homecoming & Debut) I mean, as I listen to Who Loves You it's hard to believe that I'd rank this 12th on an album of 12. Good song. There are some quirky melodies scattered around on here but they all seem to work for me. Good mix of rock and slower tempo songs. I love Today's The Day and it really is probably the only song on here that I see having Top 40 mass appeal. Overall a top notch album.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Harbor (1977)

1. Seargent Darkness
2. Sarah
3. Now She's Gone
4. Monster
5. Don't Cry Baby
6. Political Poachers
7. God Of The Sun
8. Hurricane
9. These Brown Eyes
10. Slow Down
11. Down To The Water
12. Are You There

If I'm making the decision as to which songs to release as singles, I must admit it would be difficult. They chose God Of The Sun (not a hit quality song), Slow Down (Dan Peek tried to write disco and didn't work for me, & Don't Cry Baby (which may have been one of my choices too) I probably would have led off with Now She's Gone as the first single, followed by one of the first two which I think are both tremendous ballads. Monster is a very nice acoustical piece. Hurricane is the cutoff point for me on this album, anything below it I'm skipping.  I can understand why many America fans didn't continue after this album. It was probably their weakest to date, and also was the last for Dan Peek. Not necessarily a bad album, but definitely one of my least favorites. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Silent Letter (1979)

1. All My Life
2. Tall Treasures
3. 1960
4. Only Game In Town
5. Foolin'
6. And Forever
7. All Around
8. No Fortune
9. One Morning
10. High In The City
11. All Night

I didn't buy this at the time of it's release. Probably didn't even know about it. As far as I knew America had broken up. I had heard nothing on the radio from this album.  Three years later, I purchased View From The Ground based on the airplay that singles from that album were getting. Somewhere on the sleeve it had pictures of Silent Letter & Alibi, the two previous albums. Since I liked View From The Ground, I set out to find Silent Letter. I eventually found it in the cut-out bin of a department store. I must say that my expectations weren't high, but when I put side 1 on and played it through, I was pleasantly surprised. Not a bad song on side 1. I flipped it over and "Foolin'" continued the succession of good tunes. Maybe the reason I hate "All Night" so much, other than I think it's awful, is also because I remember how disappointed I was that it broke the streak of good songs that the album had going. Truthfully, side 2 wasn't nearly as good, but it did have "All My Life", which I still can't believe wasn't a big hit. In my opinion, 1 thru 8 are solid. "Tall Treasures" would have fit as an up tempo number on an earlier album. I like the melody and theme of "1960".  "Foolin" is a catchy pop tune.

What I really wonder is what this album would have been like with Dan Peek still on board. Dan also released his solo album the same year and had a #6 Adult Contemporary (#1 Christian) with All Things Are Possible.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alibi (1980)

1. Hangover
2. Coastline
3. Right Back To Me
4. I Don't Believe In Miracles
5. Survival
6. You Could Have Been The One
7. Catch That Train
8. One In A Million
9. I Do Believe In You
10. Might Be Your Love
11. Valentine

Some big names show up in the credits of this album: Steve Lukather, Timothy B. Schmidt, J.D. Souther. For me, not a bad song on here. An album of A- to B- songs, but unfortunately no great standout for me.  Once again a very good mix of rockers and catchy slow songs. Hard to rank. Not much separates top from bottom.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

View From The Ground (1982)

1. Inspector Mills
2. Never Be Lonely
3. Sometimes Lovers
4. You Girl
5. Right Before Your Eyes
6. You Can Do Magic
7. Love On The Vine
8. Jody
9. Even The Score
10. Desperate Love

Maybe there are sentimental reasons why I like this album so much. It represents my rediscovery of America.  It does have a stinker, in my opinion, in "Desperate Love", but the rest just hits all the right spots for me. Very good album, and I don't think they ever again matched it's quality. If you're an America fan, and you don't own Silent Letter, Alibi and View From The Ground, I think you're missing out.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your Move (1983)

1. Loves Worn Out Again
2. She's A Runaway
3. Your Move
4. The Border
5. Cast The Spirit
6. My Kinda Woman
7. Tonight Is For Dreamers
8. Someday Woman
9. My Dear
10. Don't Let Me Be Lonely
11. Honey

About half of this album is OK. "She's A Runaway", which I rank #2 here, I don't think would smell the Top 5 in any other America album. A big, big disappointment after View From The Ground. By far, their worst at the point of release in my opinion.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×