AMERICA COVERS DYLAN, SIMON, WILSON, MITCHELL AND ETC…

ALBUM TITLE                        :        BACK PAGES

ARTIST                                   :        AMERICA

GENRE                                    :        POP/ FOLK/ TRADITIONAL POP

DATE RELEASED                   :        2011

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This folk band ruled my musical consciousness when I was in high school and my passion with America went on until 1991.  I thought they never released new albums or songs after that as each time I went to record bars I only saw older albums like “History,” View From The Ground,”and “Stereo.” I was really elated while searching for some stuffs of my favorite artists of yesteryears I stumbled upon this album.  And I can’t help downloading this album and listening to all of the tracks in it.

Boy, I was glad that I discovered this album. This is a collection of their own cover versions of songs spanning different decades.  Here is track by track review of this record.

  • A Road Song – A Fountain of Wayne original and loyal fans of America would think that this track is out of place probably because one cannot helped but conclude that America did not make good with their own version of this upbeat song and instead they crafted a melancholic song of this track.

Listen to “A Road Song” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5F-IS3Mqgo

  • Caroline No – a Brian Wilson and part of The Beach Boys “Pet Session” album and America’s version is like a soundtrack form David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

Listen to Caroline No here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8IisewrGP0

  • On The Way Home – written and performed by Neil Young and when he performed it live, listeners can’t help but shed few tears. America’s version is like listening to a road track and you would be excited coming home.
  • My Back Pages – is a Bob Dylan song and The Byrds played one of its famous version. Now, the Bob Dylan version was quite dreamy in terms of musical quality and The Byrds version is quite danceable and you can imagine yourself doing the mashed potato dance steps. Perhaps, America should have crafted the song ala “Sister Golden Hair” to retain the beauty of the song.

Listen to “My Back Pages” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex5sX0qioyc

  • Crying In My Sleep – is perhaps known for Art Garfunkel version and America’s version is more melancholic and sincere.
  • America – A Paul Simon original and America just delivered like it has to be; no fanfare. Perhaps out of respect to Paul that America did not try to recreate the song the America way.
  • Sailing To Philadelphia – will make you go back in time and reminisce older song like “I Need You” and “Ventura Highway.” Indeed, America hasn’t lost its charm when it comes to making music that soothes your mind.
  • Someday We’ll Know – their version did not depart from the original track. And this what makes the song one of the most endearing in this album.  It feels like meeting old friends again and imagining singing along to this song.

Listen to “Someday We’ll Know” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1cVcd2OA90

  • Something In The Way She Moves – it is perhaps the vocal quality of Dewey and Bunnel that makes their version better than James Taylor.
  • Till I Hear It From You – a Gin Blossom original and America just proved that they could still make it even if they appeared during the Grunge era. Their cover version is just as good as the original version.

Listen to “Till I Hear It From You” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqiUTDODU30

  • Time of The Season – A track originally performed by The Zombie and America’s version would make listerners believed that this song is a rip-off of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
  • Woodstock – is a Joni Mitchell original and the lyrics of the song just fit America when if are familiar with the way they crafted beautiful lyrics of their songs such as “A Horse With No Name,” All My Life,” Inspector Mills,” “Jodi,” and “Stereo.” Just straight forward lyrics no poetic pretensions.

America did it right when they compiled songs from different eras and new listeners would end up discovering the original version as a result.  It is quite a good album devoid of bells, whispers, and shrills.  They performed the songs their own way even if it did not veer away from the original.  They ended up owning some of the songs like “Woodstock,” Something In The Way She Moves,” and “Sailng to Philadelphia but they were also respectful with original version.

I rate this collection 4 stars out of 5 stars for being true to the original version and merging their own style and brand of singing.

Ratings Description:

1 star = Ignore it

2 stars= risk it

3 stars = borrow or buy it

4 stars = buy it and keep it

5 = buy, keep, and treasure it

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