Back Pages

  • Код: EOMCD2137
  • Производитель: eOne Music Group
  • Код производителя: 0099923213727
  • Цена: 66.99 zł
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Blues & Rock/Rythm & Blues
premiera polska:
kontynent: Ameryka Północna
kraj: USA
opakowanie: digipackowe etui
Editor's info:
The last week of July was an occasion of joy and pain for the folk-rock group America. Two days after founding ex-member Dan Peek passed away at the age of 60, America released their first album since 2007's return-to-form Here And Now. Back Pages continues with the return to the classic sound, but with a twist: none of the songs were written by either Dewey Bunnell nor Gerry Buckley. This is a covers album, a turn Pat Metheny and even James Taylor have taken recently, and yes, the duo did do a JT song, "Something In The Way She Moves." But the main thing about the song selection is that they didn't just select songs from their time of youth; a few much fresher selections made it on the album, too, like Fountains of Wayne's "A Road Song" (perhaps a return appreciation to the composer Adam Schlesinger, an unabashed America admirer and co-producer of that Here And Now comeback record).

Assessing this record ultimately comes down to how convincing the performances are, and they are convincing, especially if you too admire America's gently sunny disposition, layers of acoustic guitar strumming, Crosby, Stills and Nash styled vocal arrangements and a touch of country that was always present in their best songs. It's all there, like as if it never left, and it's those qualities that makes one think of these recordings as America songs, not the songs of the original artists, even if there's no real attempt to overhaul the songs. The production is clean, although the drum tracks betray the fact that these cuts were recorded in the 21st century, not the mid-70s. A minor quibble, in any case.

There are thus few surprises, but the irony of covering Paul Simon's song of the same name of the band is hard to miss, and the sudden grandiose of the drum in the last minute of the track was a sly strategic placement. Maybe not as sly as the "Sister Golden Hair" quote snuck into Schlesinger's song, which it seems America has already taken complete ownership of. "Woodstock" highlights perhaps unintentionally the resemblance of their voices to CSN: Bunnell's vocal sounding more uncannily like Stephen Stills in his prime than it ever did, while Buckley's approximates Graham Nash. Since the CSNY rendition of Joni Mitchell's classic tune is rightly definitive, there's no complaints from here about this version; the electric sitar used for America's version even reveals the similarity of that song to Steely Dan's "Do It Again."

Another high point is a sensitive reading of Brian Wilson's gorgeous 1966 song "Caroline No," which might not match the original, but it's plenty good enough to remind anybody what a beautiful, sad melody Wilson created. Other covers come from Neil Young ("On The Way Home"), Mark Knopfler ("Sailing To Philadelphia"), The Zombies ("Time Of The Season"), The New Radicals ("Someday We'll Know," dig the George Harrison inspired lead guitar) and of course, the title song is Bob Dylan's.

In the end, America is occupying the exact space they've squatted on all along, that is, archetypical soft rock. That's a label that to some like, say, Rolling Stone Magazine is a curse. Me? I say, "it depends." Are the songs good, is the production not overbearing and are the harmonies rich? If the answer to those questions are "yes," then I really don't care what they might call it, I call it good.

Back Pages is good.

01. America
02. A Road Song
03. Woodstock
04. Caroline No
05. Someday We'll Know
06. Sailing to Philadelphia
07. Crying in My Sleep
08. Time of the Season
09. Something in the Way She Moves
10. On the Way Home
11. Til I Hear It From You
12. My Back Pages

wydano: 2011-06-10
more info: www.eonemusic.com

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