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Non-Prog CD Reviews

America

America’s Greatest Hits – History

Review by Gary Hill

As the title suggests, this is a greatest hits collection. The thing is, the music here is exceptionally strong. Much stronger than many similar collections from other artists. America’s blend of various soft rock styles was just so effective. Both the music and the incredible vocal harmonies went a very long ways towards creating a sound that was magical and it carried through pretty much everything they ever did. This is a great place to start an America collection, or just sample one of the finest bands of the genre.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
A Horse with No Name

When I was a kid this was my favorite song. It’s still a great tune. It’s a safe bet most people have heard it. There are great vocal harmonies and intricate musical arrangements to be heard.

I Need You
Another pretty tune, this rocks a bit more than the previous one. It might not be as instantly compelling, but it’s a good number, nonetheless.
Sandman
At times this is my favorite America tune. It’s got some elements that call to mind Neil Young, but it’s really all about those classic America harmonies and a great rocking melody. This is such a strong piece of music. There’s also a killer instrumental section on this number.
Ventura Highway
Another that definitely qualifies as a big hit for America, it’s another fine example of how they were able to take the same basic concept, a mellow rock tune, and create a wholly different tune each time. The vocal arrangement is especially effective.
Don't Cross The River
There’s a bit of a country tinge to this piece, but comparisons to Crosby Stills and Nash are also valid.
Only In Your Heart
This mellow rocker seems to pale in comparison to a lot of the music on this set, but that has more to do with the strength of the other tunes than any weakness in this one. There is a cool backwards tracked instrumental section as a reprise.
Muskrat Love
If there’s a track that could have been left off here, this would be it. It’s the weakest piece on show and is just kind of silly. Apparently someone liked it, though, because lots of artists did the tune.
Tin Man
The vocal arrangement on this is one of the best of the whole set. The lyrics are quite cool, too and overall this is one of the strongest numbers here.
Lonely People
While this is really sort of a folk rock song, it gets a lot more involved than that and works towards progressive rock and jazz at times. It’s another that’s very strong.
Sister Golden Hair
One of the more rocking tunes in America’s bag of tricks, this tune is another that got a lot of airplay. It’s also another potent tune.
Daisy Jane
This is one of the mellowest tunes here. The chorus is very effective. It’s really a strong indicator of how strong the rest of the music here is that this feels like a weak tune. On most albums this would be a highlight.
Woman Tonight
This rocker feels like something Pablo Cruise might have done. It’s not one of the most typical America sounds on show and is also one of the weakest.
 
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