I always had the feeling America would be the kind of band I connect with in no time at all. I was only familiar with the big hits “Sister Golden Hair” and (of course) the one about the nameless equine. When coming across this 2-disc set at a negligible price, there was no thinking twice. And Bunnell, Peek and Beckley did not fail to deliver in any sense.
As a band, America blends a hefty dose of pop and piano ballads with some country stylings (mainly courtesy of Dan Peek, the one member that left the band in the year 1977). I was surprised by how many songs did ring a bell upon listening to them – “Ventura Highway” and “Today Is The Day” were two that had me exclaiming “¡Ah! ¡It’s that song!”. And they were not the only ones.
America had the distinction of being the first band that Beatles’ producer George Martin worked with on a big scale after the Fab Four parted ways. He was to helm several of his albums, including “Holiday” and the wildly successful “Hearts”. Nobody would be fool enough to make a comparison between The Beatles and America, but what can (and must) be said is that both bands did share a melodic approach and sensibility that was seldom seen. They had that one aspect in common. It was not a link, of course. But it was something they did share.
If I had to pick favorites (because there are no duffers within range), I would go for “Don’t Cross The River” (that banjo means business in the studio version!) and the lovely ballads “To Each His Own” and “Sergeant Darkness”.
At the end of the day, I am incredibly happy that I not only picked up an America compilation, but that I did pick up this one up. It has every single hit and some album tracks that are key to their appeal. I can say without reservations that this collection not only did make a fan out of me, but that it actually made a lifelong fan out of me. If you like music that resonates way deep inside and which amplifies the emotions that should matter, this is a winning number.
Would I recommend purchase of this compilation: Yes
Do I feel like digging deeper into their catalog after listening to it: Yes