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.
- Release Date:
- Warner Bros / Wea
Performance CreditsAmerica Primary Artist
David Lindley Guitar,Electric Guitar,Steel Guitar
Dan Peek Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Electric Guitar,Vocals,12-string Guitar
Dave Attwood Drums
Gerry Beckley Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Piano,Chimes,Vocals,12-string Guitar
Dewey Bunnell Acoustic Guitar,Drums,Vocals,12-string Guitar
Ray Cooper Percussion,Bell-tree
Kim Haworth Drums
Technical CreditsAmerica Producer
Ken Scott Engineer
Jeff Dexter Producer
Ian Samwell Producer
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This debut from the then trio, and now a duo, America, is a fine piece of work. With the hits: A Horse With No Name, I Need You, and Sandman, and other fine songs, Rainy Day, Donkey Jaw, and Here, America proved itself to be crafters of fine soft rock songs. Excellent recording. Get It.
I remember having to wait to get this album when it came out in the 70's. due to the success of A Horse With No Name, the stores could'nt keep it in stock. Went to see America live a couple of times in the last 3 years and after a great show in March at the Keswick, decided that it was time to upgrade my America collection which consisted of the ever popular "Best Of America" not that best of is not a great album...but this 1st album is America at its finest...