Autumn 1997 Edition
Welcome to the Autumn 1997 edition of the AMERICA Newsletter, the premiere edition of THE HORSE'S MOUTH ! ! This new, appropriate and clever title for the newsletter was selected by Gerry and Dewey, and we are extremely pleased by their active interest in this newsletter. THE HORSE'S MOUTH is published by Barbara Bickmore and Rick Wahlgren to keep readers updated about America. If you have any comments or submissions, send them to Barb or Rick.
America Trivia...Try Your Horse Sense
CD/LP Availability......Trot Out and Treat Yourself
Updated Concert Schedule.....Still On the Trail
Summer Concert Reviews.....Choice N(oats) from the Nose Bag
R.V. Parks and the Winnebagos
Leaves of Grass
Horse Power: America's First Album
Dan Peek/Peace Update
America Home Page Updates
Road Apple Award
The Horse's Mouth Newsletter Submissions
Answers to America Trivia
AMERICA TRIVIA......TRY YOUR HORSE SENSE!
The leaves are turning colors, the kids are back in school, the days are getting shorter, and there's a nip to the air. Yes, it's true......we have bid farewell to summer and autumn is now upon us. Here are some trivia questions In keeping with the change of seasons. (The answers are at the end of the newsletter.)
Guess the songs that contain these seasonal references.
And.........here's more trivia from Alan Rowan!
CD/LP AVAILABILITY.....TROT OUT AND TREAT YOURSELF!
The following Capitol CD's have just become available as French imports: Alibi, Your Move, and Perspective (alas, no Silent Letter).
The CD's are available on the Musidisc label and cost $30.00 plus $6.00 for shipping & handling. A gentleman by the name of Nicolas Burnouf (who lives in France and has had an ongoing correspondence with Steve Lowry) has offered to help AMERICA fans obtain these CD's. You can contact Nicolas at:
Web page: http://www.mygale.org/06/liberty/ameresa/america.htm
For those of you who prefer to wait for the domestic versions, One Way Records is continuing with its plans to release the Capitol material in 1998. The delay at this point seems to revolve around One Way's search for rare tracks to include as "bonus tracks" on the CD's. Bonus tracks promise to make these CD's well worth the wait. More info will be posted on the AOL folder and the America Home Page as it becomes available.
One of the frequently asked questions to the America Home Page is how to purchase a copy of Van Go Gan. Here's some info that may help...............
Those of you who are still trying to track down a copy of Van Go Gan (Gerry's fantastic solo album) may find the following information useful. Gerry says that Renaissance Records in Nashville may start carrying Van Go Gan. He suggests we could help speed things up by calling or writing John at Renaissance and urging him to release Van Go Gan.
John W. Edwards at Renaissance Records
Web Page: http://www.esg.nl/esg/renaissance/renaissance.html
E-Mail ID: email@example.com
A fellow America Fan said that Phantom Wholesalers in California (714-650-7900) had 15 copies of Van Go Gan but he had ordered two of them. He had to order through the Wall Music store as Phantom does not except orders from individuals, only from major CD stores.
It's also possible that you can find Van Go Gan at Thoughtscape Sounds and/or CD Now (http://www.cdnow.com/) who both claim that they can get Van Go Gan.
In case anyone is interested in some new unused AMERICA LP's (yes vinyl), Harvard Records (617)868-3385, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org is still showing AMERICA, HARBOR, IN CONCERT & PERSPECTIVE in their recent catalog. If not for historical purposes, the LP's are great to have w/their cover designs & fotos. HARBOR has that fantastic foto collage of AMERICA'S studio time in Hawaii, suitable for framing. Check with them re: what is left in inventory, since it changes. NOTE: impress your kids by telling them these large black "laser discs" are on the cutting edge if they ask what an LP is.
AMERICA's "Live in Central Park" laser disc has been re-released. This live performance by AMERICA in their Silent Letter days is not to be missed! Here is a source for the laser disc, and phone orders are accepted.
Dave's Video - The Laser Place
12144 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
The cost is $26.99.
There are also at least two sources for the laser disc listed on the
America Fans page for CD sources:
There's been continuing inquiries to the America Home Page about purchasing America CDs recently.........and here's some great info from Steve's Fan's page..................
Thoughtscape Sounds (http://www.thoughtscape.com/ or call 1-800-435-6185) said that they had all of the following America CDs in stock:
America - $11.99
Homecoming - $11.99
Hat Trick - $18.99
Holiday - $18.99
Hearts - $18.99
Hideaway - $18.99
Harbor - $18.99
America Live - $18.99
View From The Ground - $10.99
The Last Unicorn Soundtrack - $24.99
America In Concert (1985 Capitol) - $15.99
Encore - $14.99
America In Concert (1995 King Biscuit) - $14.99
Van Go Gan (Gerry's Solo Album) - $32.99
Centenary Collection (replaces the Premium Gold Collection) - $18.99
If you want to see other places that have America CDs in stock go to /america/cdsource.htm and you'll see current updates. Steve has done an excellent job accumulating info about buying CDs
UPDATED CONCERT SCHEDULE......STILL ON THE TRAIL
Even though the '97 America Tour is winding down, the hottest news story at the present time is the remaining schedule. America is performing on a Star Cruise out of Singapore, which could provide a great opportunity for the guys to perfect their confetti throwing, shuffleboarding, Bossa Nova, and Conga skills. No word yet if Richard Simmons or Kathy Lee will be aboard for this fun cruise. :)
Next, America will chart new territory as they make their first trip ever to China, performing in Beijing and Shanghai. Our country is very fortunate to have America act as ambassadors to China, and they will create more goodwill than an entire entourage of politicians could ever hope to! Now's the time to start practicing with those chopsticks!
Then, the guys are looking forward to going to "the land down under" and maybe even playing a jazzed up version of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport" in Aust ralia, They're also planning to enjoy many of the beautiful sites and unique Australian experiences between performances.
Finally, America will perform a rare New Years show in Jackpot, Nevada to bring in 1998 in style.
Here's the remainder of the 1997 Tour Schedule. This is latest info we have, with all the venue info, starting times etc.
REMEMBER.....THIS IS A TENTATIVE SCHEDULE....ALWAYS CHECK WITH LOCAL
TICKETMASTER OR TICKET AGENT BEFORE YOU MAKE PLANS
10/3/97 San Diego, CA Humphrey's
10/4/97 San Ramon, CA Maestro's
10/5/97 Sacramento, CA. Gold River Raquet Club
10/12/97-10/19/97 Star Cruise....beginning in Singapore
11/01/97 Beijing, China
11/02/97 Shanghai, China
11/04/97 Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
11/06/97 Jakarta, Java
11/08/97 Perth, Australia (Burswood)
11/09/97 Bunbury, Australia (Bunbury Entertainment Center)
11/11/97 Hobart, Australia (Wrest Point Casino)
11/13/97 Melbourne, Australia (Yarravale Club)
11/14/97 Melbourne, Australia (Yarravale Club)
11/15/97 Adelaide, Australia(Barooga Sports Club)
11/16/97 Sydney (nearby), Australia (Wyong Lgs Club)
11/19/97 Sydney, Australia (Parramatta Lgs)
11/20/97 Sydney, Australia (Parramatta Lgs)
11/21/97 Sydney, (nearby) Australia (Evan Theater Pennth)
11/22/97 Brisbane, Australia
11/23/97 Gold Coast, Australia (Jupiter's Casino)
11/25/97 Wellington, New Zealand (Wellington Convention Center)
12/30/97 Jackpot, NV. Cactus Pete's
12/31/97 Jackpot, NV. Cactus Pete's
WATCH THE AMERICA HOME PAGE FOR ADDITIONAL SCHEDULE CHANGES UNTIL THE NEXT NEWSLETTER!!!!!!!
CONCERT REVIEWS........CHOICE N(OATS) FROM THE NOSE BAG
Since the last newsletter, AMERICA has completed an extensive U.S. tour, wowing audiences wherever they went. Here is a sampling of concert reviews which chronicle AMERICA's cross-country travels.
May 31. 1997 Salt Lake City, UT
Submitted by Steve L. (AmericaSL@aol.com)
Three concerts in three weeks. How lucky can a guy get? First Las Vegas, then St. George, and now Salt Lake City.
The Salt Lake City classic is an all-day affair that began in 1977. It is sponsored by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Utah and the proceeds are used to benefit the needy children of Utah. The event began with a 10K run and a 5K walk and ended with the America concert. In between there were lots of activities and plenty of food and fun.
The evening activites were held at Franklin Quest field, home of the Salt Lake City Buzz (Pacific Coast league triple A baseball team). The stage was positioned on the warning track in center field and concession stands were all over the infield area. The weather was hot (95 degrees) and the skies were clear and everybody was in the mood for a great concert. At 7 pm the opening act, Shagg, came out to warm up the audience. Since the theme of the event was "remembering the 70's", Shagg performed a number of up-tempo disco songs reminiscent of the 70's. They kept mentioning that the great band of the 70's, 80's, and 90's, America, would be coming out soon and that got a lot of applause. After 40 minutes of disco hits Shagg left the stage and then Rooster put the finishing touches on the equipment so that it would be ready for the 8 pm appearance of America.
Between the two acts, the DJ's from the sponsoring radio station announced that there were over 12,000 people in attendance, which made this the largest attended Salt Lake City classic ever. I guess they should always invite America to play.
I hung out near the side of the stage before the concert began watching for Dewey and Gerry to come out. Willie, Brad, and Michael were already warming up behind the stage but Dewey and Gerry were in the club house eating a Boston Market chicken dinner. As I was waiting, a little boy (about 11 years old) stood beside me holding a history CD booklet. He was hoping to get it signed by Gerry and Dewey. I told him that he needed to have a pen in order to get them to sign it and then I pulled one out of my pocket. I told him he could use it if they happened to stop by us.
A few minutes later I saw Dewey walking on the warning track from the club house toward the stage. As he got closer I waved to him and he recognized me. He came over to the rope where I was waiting and we exchanged greetings. The little boy then asked if he could have an autograph and Dewey started fumbling in his bag for a pen. I pulled mine out and let him use it to autograph the boy's booklet. He also took a couple of minutes to do some autographs for other admiring fans. It was almost time to start by then so he bid everyone farewell and went behind the stage. About then Gerry came walking out and he also recognized me. He walked up and shook my hand and we talked for a few seconds. Gerry then signed the little boy's booklet and then rushed behind the stage. I know that the guys were under pressure to get backstage but I was impressed by the time they were willing to spend with their fans.
Since this event didn't have reserved seating and I didn't get there in time to get near the front, I had to sit about 50 feet from the stage. But I still had a good view of the guys and I avoided a fight that broke out near the front of the stage. The fight erupted near the end of a song and after the song Gerry and Dewey tried to break it up by telling the guys to calm down. Then they suggested that those who didn't want to listen go to the side of the stadium so that those who wanted to, could hear. That got a tremendous ovation and the police were happy to escort the offenders out of the stadium. The rest of the concert proceeded without incident.
At 8 pm sharp the sponsoring DJ came out and announced that it was time for America to play. He told all of those who were sitting on the grass in the outfield to stand and welcome America. And stand they did! For the next 80 minutes everyone stood, clapped, danced, sang, and thoroughly enjoyed America.
The band started by playing Riverside and Ventura Highway. Before playing the next song, You Can Do Magic, Gerry dedicated it to John Stockton and the Utah Jazz who had just defeated the Houston Rockets. That got a big cheer from the fans.
Brad then sang Don't Cross the River which was followed by Daisy Jane, Mirror to Mirror, Another Try, and The Last Unicorn. Three Roses was next followed by I Need You, Tin Man, and Woman Tonight. Only In Your Heart received a thunderous applause as did California Dreamin', and Lonely People. Green Monkey got everyone dancing and it was followed by Never Be Lonely, Sandman and Sister Golden Hair. The guys went backstage after Sister Golden Hair while the audience stood and cheered for them to come back.
When they did come back on stage Dewey announced that they had forgot to play a couple of songs anyway so they were happy to come back. California Revisited was the first of the duo and Horse With No Name was the finale.
All too soon the concert was over and after the cheering died down everyone filed out of the stadium, satisfied that they had seen a quality band put on a quality erformance. I was especially impressed because I know that the guys had returned from Guam only two days before and were probably still suffering from jet lag. But you never would have guessed it with all of the energy and quality that they put into the concert. That's just the way America is ....
June 1, 1997 City of Industry, CA
Submitted by Jim N. (JIMNAK@aol.com)
AMERICA, fresh from a very successful overseas tour of the Philippines & Guam, performed 2 shows on Sunday June 1 near Los Angeles, that's right 2 ! By the way, as alluded to in a recent post by Jessica, this overseas tour was extremely successful & AMERICA was very happy with the enthusiastic, overflow crowds that came in for some inspiration. Hopefully the upcoming new CD will have worldwide distribution, all fans are invited to spread the word by any means possible.
Here the setting was a very fashionable club with a modern decor, comfortable seating, a warm California summer night, a kaleidoscope of lighting colors & an AMERICA crazed crowd - all the ingredients for an evening of Magic. For starters, Barb & Kelly always have the best seats in the house (I think it's because they work-out a lot). Thanks for letting a number of us share your seats.
Well DEWEY opened with thundering vocals on RIVERSIDE; DEWEY's vocals came across like surround sound. I really wondered if he had a dsp (digital signal processor) implanted in his throat, his vocals were of monster proportion on this classic song. RIVERSIDE from AMERICA's first & critically acclaimed debut LP is a song of youth, freedom & independence. A great song as an opener for youthful exuberance, but not without a dose of reality & an understanding of self reliance, "you see the world don't owe me no living". This song is colored so effectively by GERRY'S lead guitar work. GERRY lets his fingers dance & the result is a highly refined musical entourage of swiftly moving note patterns traveling thru space timelessly - a song that will never be out of fashion as long as humans exist.
The crowd here being LA based, contained many dedicated hard-core AMERICA fans, after-all it was in Southern California that the journey of a million musical notes began some 27 years ago. Just hanging out around the merchandise shoppe with Mr. Pete, the proprietor, is quite interesting with all the fans discussing their joy for AMERICA. I have a simple statement for them: Buy HOURGLASS & VAN GO GAN !
During the show one guy kept on insisting that they play MUSKRAT LOVE. Finally DEWEY had to say that they stopped playing it many, many years ago; eventually near the end of the evening GERRY entertained the crowd w/a few bars from MUSKRAT. You know it's been well over 20 years since they played it, but GERRY with his exceptional memory had no problem playing it. You know GERRY, besides having a musical brain, has a very acute memory, natural instincts & a very disciplined approach to his work; Definitely a major reason for AMERICA's staying power & their creation of close to 20 LP's. During the HORSE WITH NO NAME finale, a girl rushed onto the stage, only to be restrained by security forces. It has been a long time for such a security breach. Later on she introduced herself as Gena & simply wanted to proclaim her love for AMERICA's music.
June 3, 1997 Victorville, CA
Submitted by Kelly E. (YNGMOON@aol.com)
I'll start by setting the scene for the 2 shows "America" preformed in the city of Victorville, or as Jim calls it Hooterville.
First show began at 7pm. Sun starting to set, some high clouds lingering, with hues of yellow, orange, and pink reflecting from the last of the suns rays. A warm breezy wind blows as "America" enters the stage. Applause is immediate by a roaring capacity crowd. As the guys take they're positions and break into playing the ever familiar sounds of "Riverside", a song as we all know, brings back lots of memories of yesteryear. A feeling that really warms our hearts !! "America" played all the crowd pleasers . To name a few, "Three Roses", "Ventura Hwy", "Sandman", "Daisy Jane", "I Need You", "Don't Cross the River", "Mirror to Mirror", "Never Be Lonely", "Calif. Dreamin", "Lonely People", "Only In Your Heart", "You Can Do Magic", "Sister Golden Hair"........in no specific order, ...............shall I go on ???
As they continued on, they brought the audience to they're feet. Lot's of enthusiasm, as Gerry, Dewey, Micheal, Brad, and Willie clearly enjoying themselves, with much added humor passed back and forth between them. The chemistery between them all, especially Gerry and Dewey was "shinning twice as bright".........a concert I'm glad I was able to attend, along with my partner in crime "Barbie" !!
They ended the first show with "Sister Golden Hair". As they took they're bow to leave, the crowd went "WILD"...............they wanted more as we always do when "America" is here !! The guy's came back with an encore of "Horse With No Name", a song known worldwide, thanks to the brilliance of Dewey Bunnell !!!
The second show began at 9:00 pm. Wind dying down, full crowd once again, and "America" preforming all they're songs to perfection !! The crowd dancing and singing along (loud and clear), they played all our favorites once again. As the show come to a draw, the guy's returned this time with two encores. "California Revisited", and the one and only "Horse With No Name". People rushed the stage, and the rest of us danced till the end !!!
The guy's voices sounding so fresh, clean, and clear and a new CD to look forward too is a sure sign of many more concerts to come !! "Yipeeeeeeee"
"When the sky is bright.....everythings alright" ................(G. Beckley)
June 6-8, 1997 Redondo Beach, CA; Mission Viejo, CA; and Brea, CA
Submitted by Barb B. (VTAHWY@aol.com)
Southern California was alive with the dulcet sounds of AMERICA this past weekend, and we were lucky enough to be in attendance as AMERICA packed four concerts into three hectic days.
On Friday night, AMERICA took the stage at Club Caprice for two performances. The trendy club, situated on Pacific Coast Highway in Redondo Beach, provided the ideal backdrop for putting the workweek to rest. And what better way to unwind than an AMERICA concert!
The capacity crowd was primed for a good time, and AMERICA, as always, rose to the challenge. Both shows were basically greatest hits compilations, but the standards proved to be huge crowd pleasers as there was much singing, clapping and dancing. The inclusion of "Mirror to Mirror" on the play list focused attention on AMERICA's most recent CD, Hourglass, allowing Gerry an opportunity to interject that AMERICA's Hourglass long preceded James Taylor's new CD of the same name. Dewey had many friends in the audience, and Gerry looked especially dapper in his white jacket and white suede Hush Puppies. Several young women moved to the front and entertained the guys with their wild dance moves.
The locale of Saturday night's concert was about as far removed from Club Caprice as one could get. This show was held at Coto de Caza, a private gated community on the remote outskirts of Mission Viejo. It was a cloudy evening with a hint of rain that fortunately never materialized. The uniqueness of this particular venue is that the stage was set up in a tennis court! There were rows of chairs in and around the court, and blanket seating on the grassy banks above the court.
AMERICA served up an "ace", enthralling the Coto de Caza residents with their enthusiastic musicianship. Many people began standing and dancing with the first strains of "Riverside", and by "Sister Golden Hair", almost everyone was on his/her feet. The greatest hits were interspersed with such musical treasures as "The Last Unicorn", "Green Monkey" and "Sergeant Darkness".
On Sunday, AMERICA shifted venue gears once again with a concert at St. Angela Merici School's "Summerfest" fundraiser in Brea. The day's entertainment included several "tribute" acts (Carole King, Michael Bolton, etc.). But as we all know there is no substitute for AMERICA, and wisely, the organizers of this event chose the real thing to cap off the weekend's festivities.
The standing room only audience gathered slowly at first but eventually blossomed into St. Angela's largest crowd ever. Anticipation grew as AMERICA's fabulous crew took the stage around 7:00 p.m. The crew did an outstanding job of setting up in less than an hour........great job, guys!........and finally it was showtime! The audience, a potpourri of age groups, joined together in singing, clapping, swaying and dancing to their favorite AMERICA tunes. A young moon suspended in the inky darkness of the evening sky failed to inspire the guys to include "Young Moon" in the set.......darn! The appreciative audience was treated to a two-song encore of "California Revisited", and of course, the ever popular "Horse With No Name".
All four concerts were terrific! Gerry, Dewey, Will, Woodz & Brad approach their "jobs" with such positive energy that the songs still sound fresh, no matter how many times you may have heard them. The guys have been enjoying a relaxed camaraderie, leading to greater spontaneity onstage. The audiences this weekend were really into the music, too, which always makes for a better show.
One very minor (and I stress "minor") disappointment was not getting to hear "Coming In To Los Angeles", the Arlo Guthrie song AMERICA has recently added to their concert repertoire and which they played in Brazil in March. These concerts in and around the L.A. area would have been perfect for introducing the song here. But alas.......it was not to be. On the bright side, it certainly gives me something to look forward to. : )
Many thanks to the band and crew for the wild and wonderful weekend!!
June 13, 1997 Kansas City, MO
Submitted by Mark M. (MarkEMcVey@aol.com)
America performed at the Starlight Theatre (7,500 seat outdoor venue) on Friday June 13th to about 6,000+ fans. This concert was sponsored by our local classic rock station who was having their birthday party, America also played for the same birthday party the year before. Just like the year before it rained all (and I mean all) day long and just like last year the rain stopped, the clouds parted right before showtime. It turned out to be a beautiful evening, it was around 65 degrees when America took the stage around 10:15.
Brewer and Shipley opened the show, we we're late getting there and missed the first 15 minutes of their 40 minute set. They played accoustic and really entertained the crowd. They passed on a piece of trivia that I did not know, they actually wrote 'One Toke Over The Line' between sets at a coffie house at 43rd and Main in Kansas City back in 196?.
The Guess Who was next, they played a very energetic 50 minute set. There were 4 original members and they where way to energetic and had way to much fun for men their age. They had the crowd on their feet at the end of set and were a tough act for America to follow.
America finally took the stage at 10:15 and played a 60 minute set. While they where setting up Americas equipment, Willie (his brother and Dad where in attendance) came out and worked on the drums, Brad came out and played with his bass, and Woodsy brought out all the gituars and water bottles anf towels. We were in the 8th row center and had a great view of all the goings ons. Finally Gerry and Dewey along with the others emerged in matching black jackets which lasted a few songs. I'll list the set list below, it's pretty much the same as other shows, I'm doing this from memory so I hope I haven't left out a song and the order may be off.
Riverside, Ventura Highway, You Can Do Magic, Don't Cross the River, Three Roses, Daisy Jane, I Need You (Accoustic Gituar), Tin Man, California Dreaming, Woman Tonight, Only in Your Heart, Lonely People, Never be Lonely, Sandman, Sister Golden Hair and Horse With No Name.
This was the first time I had heard Three Roses, Only in Your Heart and Never be Lonely live, this made this night more enjoyable than other in the past where I had heard pretty much the same set from year to year. Also the accoustic gituar version of I Need You was great. Gerry and Dewey were talkative and funny as always, during Tin Man one isle up by the stage became a dance floor, the security did clear the isle and Dewey did thank everyone for the dancing. Dewey also said he was glad the rain stopped and mentioned that the year before it had also rained, he figure that it was just their luck. During California Dreaming a very spastic dancer took over the same isle and had everyone in stitches. Dewey kept looking back at Gerry on the Piano who was laughing and Dewey started laughing, he did very well singing and laughing at the same time.
Thats about all I have, overall it was a great evening. I always enjoy an evening out with my beautiful wife of 12 years, America and 6,000 others on Friday the 13th.
June 19, 1997 Clarkston, MI
Submitted by Tery H. (Beechlady@aol.com)
Got very lucky at the "Knob" last night, one of my camera buddies (thanks Darrell) was doing the mini-cam in the front row, he moved us up, with him!!!!!!!!!! We had decent seats to begin with, this just made it all the better!!!!!!!! YYYIIIPPPEEE!!!!! Pine Knob is situated in a forest about 40 miles north of Detroit, in Clarkston Michigan. I've heard alot of bands like to play there, the stage and pavilion seating (about 3,000) is covered. The lawn is another story........
Here's my "instant critique" (long winded version) of the show June 19th.....
Pine Knob, 7:30--The skies were OMINOUS over Clarkston, Michigan, as America took the stage. It was actually "goin' green". Nevertheless the "show must go on" as they say... The band started with a rousing version (as usual) of "Riverside". They were sounding GREAT (as usual)-harmonies & tempo tight. "Ventura Highway" started off fine, but the rain started POURING. It was coming down so hard, in fact, that the pavilion was getting misted all the way to the stage. Then a HUGE POP.....Lightening struck a tree in the surrounding forest. WOW. Startled everyone! "You Can Do Magic" was next, followed by Band intro's. The rain continued along with the "misting". Luckily, it didn't seem to effect the Band or the crew, and the show continued along with the occasional Rain comments and jokes thrown in. The people sitting on the lawn were allowed to crowd into the pavilion until the (severe) thunderstorm went over. "Daisy Jane" followed. I was struck by the "back to basics" the guys have employed since the last concert of theirs that I had the chance to see (back in '93). All the songs were VERY true to their original recording and sounded wonderful live.....Gerry had a coughing spaz at the end of the last chorus and couldn't complete the song. No explanation given, so they skipped "I Need You" for "Three Roses". Once again a beautiful job on a beautiful song. "Tin Man" came next. Finally, they re inserted "I Need You" after Gerry downed a bottle of water and took to chewing gum during the last 2 songs. It was worth the wait. Simple and acoustic-it still sounds great after 27 odd years! "Woman Tonight", then "Only In Your Heart" next. My husband (who is now becoming a converted America Fan) particularly enjoyed "California Dreamin'", Gerry and Wood-z's solos were rocking. "Lonely People" came next. I had never had the chance to hear "Never Be Lonely" live before--that was a particular treat! Then "Sandman" and "Sister Golden Hair" rounded out the concert. A standing ovation brought them back for a REALLY COOL version of "Horse"--as in K.C. the crowd was singing louder than Dewey. The guys decided to do a little choreography with their guitars center stage and Willie was going gonzo twirling his drum sticks. All made for a really impressive encore!!!
I've seen pictures of the guitars in Steve's Fan Page, they were neat to see up close! The electrics' in particular were really neat looking--Wood's looked like a Pink Cadillac......I was also struck by the amount of people who only came to see America. ALOT of people got up and left after their portion of the concert.....maybe THEY should have been the headliners!!!!!!
July 5, 1997 Naperville, IL
Submitted by Joe K. (KANAKJ@aol.com)
I finally have some time to tell you all about the GREAT SHOW America put on Saturday night, July 5th. What a great cap to the 4th of July holiday festivities, in a park setting, in the Western suburbs of Chicago.
It was a beautiful warm night, and the guys had a great turnout spilling over from the annual RibFest. Whoever came for the ribs, left with a great taste of America in their mouths. It is always great to see the guys win over people that are not really familiar with them. This was going to be my annual visit with America, as I have seen them every year in Chicagoland since they started touring.
My cousin arrived early with his wife and daughter, and staked out the area right in front of the stage. We settled in as the prior act was finishing up, and the crowd sitting around was of a modest size. By the time I turned around near the end of the guys' set, it was a virtual sea of people, and they all were caught up in the performance.
The guys started off with the familiar riffs of RIVERSIDE, and played the long set for the hugely appreciative audience. Gerry and Dewey were in excellent voice and spirits, feeding off of the energy of the crowd, playing favorites such as THREE ROSES, LAST UNICORN, MIRROR TO MIRROR, ONLY IN YOUR HEART, DAISY JANE, VENTURA HIGHWAY, etc.
Gerry did an excellent job with the acoustic version of I NEED YOU, and it was enjoyable to hear NEVER BE LONELY. The crowd really got into the jamming guitar work on GREEN MONKEY and SANDMAN.
Woodsy was his usual excellent lead on guitar, and the his vocals sounded just right on WOMAN TONIGHT.
Willie kept the beat and drove the percussion as his always does, as well as handling a repair job to his drum set early on in the performance.
The substitute base player,"Saved by the Bell" guy, did a real good job, but I missed Brads solo slamming of the base, and especially missed DON'T CROSS THE RIVER.
By the end of the night through their extensive catologue of hits, the crowd was going nuts. Needless to say, by the time the encores of CALIFORNIA DREAMING and HORSE were over with, everyone was up and dancing around, and wishing it could continue for hours more. The guys sounded great, and as always converted the fans that might not be aware of how great they are. How many bands can stay true to their recordings, but make each song come alive and sound better than the vinyl.
I also visited the loneliest guy at the show, Pete, and added to my wardrobe with a new T-Shirt and Hat. I think my oldest T-shirt still surviving goes back to Silent Letter.
We had our normal core America group at the show, and as always, brought other friends and made new converts. All the "new fans" wanted to know when the next area show was, and thanks to this great board, I was able to tell them August 23rd, in Elgin, Il. We will have an even bigger turn out for that show.
Enjoy your local shows, and I'm looking onward to August, when the guys once again grace Chicagoland.
Have a good summer, enjoy the WIND WAVE.
August 1, 1997 Wichita, KS
Submitted by John S. (Ottobabble@aol.com)
A personal milestone was reached here in the Land of Oz, I didn't have to leave town to see the world's greatest band, I just had two tap my heels three times and head west to the Cotillion Ballroom.
The anticipation was overwhelming, as not only was I getting to experience another America concert, but I was going to meet up with our fellow AOLer, Mark McVey. We had e-mailed each other the last days before the show, and we had no problem hooking up as we got in line for the show. Seating was open, so Mark and his brother got to sit with my wife, six of my friends, and myself. I have to point out that Mark was wearing the shirt that he won in Kelly's trivia quiz a few month's ago.
We were further thrilled to get to meet the world's greatest lonely guy, Pete the T-shirt man. Haley (Ike's daughter) was assisting him. We talked briefly and I patronized his business, then got to speak briefly with Ike, before the show began.
The opening act was a local guitar player named Lander Ballard, who adequately performed his set. The ballroom was jam packed (I guess about 2000 folks), and everyone was eager for America to make their appearance.
At 10:15, they came on stage. The intro was a little awkward because the bone-headed radio guy introduced them too soon so their was a slight lull before they came out. My friends got a kick out of Woodz's tee shirt (It said "Beer Nuts") As was anticipated, the group opened with Riverside. The play list was as follows (with some of my thoughts):
You Can Do Magic
Don't Cross the River
Mirror to Mirror
Last Unicorn (great song, the first time I had ever heard it, they said this was the encore song in Germany!)
I Need You
Tin Man (Dewey noted that this was an appropriate Kansas song!)
Woman Tonight (Woodz was great on the vocals!)
Only in Your Heart (I had never heard this live before, wow!)
California Dreamin (This song was introduced as a California song, whereupon Gerry played a few notes of "I Left My Heart in SanFrancisco")
Never Be Lonely
Sand Man (They really rocked the house with this number!)
Sister Golden Hair (A great follower of Sandman!)
and the encore:
Horse With No Name (Haley came out for this one; her, Gerry, Brad, and Woodz did a nice little synchronized dip with their guitars)
The crowd really got into the whole set with standing O's from the first song and on. Everyone in the group seemed to be having fun. Dewey just has that warm smile that says "We are really glad you came to see us." Gerry was funny in his comments between numbers, especially when he announced they were going back to the studio. He said they were going to call the Album "Hotel California" figuring since other people have used their album names (James Taylor "Hourglass" and Michael Jackson "History") they might be able to rip one off themselves. During the show, some folks put up a sign that said "London Central High School Alumni Rock!" which got acknowledged by Ger and Dewey.
Unfortunately, the show had to end (the set lasted 80-85 minutes). The group had a 5:50 am flight to catch, so they were hustled out once the show ended. All my local friends thoroughly enjoyed the show, as well as my wife. It was certainly an awesome night for me (you may get Mark's reaction later). We enjoyed meeting Pete and seeing Haley and Ike (briefly) again. Maybe there will be another show in our near future.
August 20, 1997 Rye, NY
Submitted by Joe I. (Jiconey@aol.com)
The show that took place in Rye was as usual from my perspective wonderful. However, this was the first time that I had gone to an outdoor concert and it had poured!
The show took place in the amusement park called Rye Playland, the only thing good about this place is that the stage is very small and it sits right in the center of the parks "midway". This really adds to the up close and personal feeling of shows there. Anyway,Maureen and I were the only ones who were able to go to the show that day and all day long it had been raining so we were really worried about the show even going on. Got there, went back and met the guys and listened to the 2 opening acts, Robert John (the Lion Sleeps) and Don McClean (fresh off his apperance with Garth Brooks) and staked out our spot amongst the people behind stage and litterally stood just inches away from Gerry's keyboard. Now everything was going great untill they announced the band and the heavens just opened up. Man it poured, but the amazing thing was that the crowd, although smaller then expected because of the rain, just stayed where they were, no one moved, no one ran for shelter, it was great, just America fans standing there in the rain and watching the show. I am sure the guys got a kick out of it because they really did a great job on the "long set". Gerry played Last Unicorn and looked over at us, see before the show they were deciding to mabey cut the song from the list, but I told him that it was my daughter Gia's favorite. So after the song he said it was by special request and it kinda warmed my heart. It was also kinda funny when the guys would look over at us and see us basically drenched and chuckle.
One thing that really impressed both Maureen and I was the way the guys seemed determined to play as well as they could for the huddled masses. First Class all the way!!! I also was totally impressed by the number of people still there at the end of the show, true America fans! Unfortunatly that seems like it for the Northeast at least for now, just cant get to Maryland or Virginia so we'll just be patient.
August 23, 1997 Elgin, IL
Submitted by Sjs1661@aol.com
"Livin on the Riverside" was certainly an appropriate opening verse for this recent venue. Elgin, IL is a northwest suburb of Chicago located along the scenic Fox River. Elgin's Fine Arts Festival, held this past weekend, was centered around the the City's performing arts center-Hemmen's Auditorium. There were numerous artists and artisans displaying their works around the courtyard, with local bands providing outdoor entertainment. Those in-the-know were waiting for the artists to take stage indoors. The trick was finding out how to get inside. At 2:00 Saturday afternoon, 2 free tickets to the America concert were distributed to each person in line until sold out. As real fans arrive early, even for free tickets, I was about the 50th person inline at 1:10. At 1:55 pm, I began to panick. There were now several hundred people in line and, as I was bringing my wife and daughter (3 total), I would need to make 2 trips through the line for my 3 tickets. Just as the line was about to move, a nearby stander, who had heard about my ticket shortage from other standers, came up with a real human solution. Her 11 year old grandaughter-Jobeth-would stand with me for tickets in exchange for a lemonade. America fans, young and seasoned, play a big part in the America experience. The deal was done. We toasted lemonades and I went home with tickets for all. It occured to me, while standing in line, that this America audience would be the most eclectic crowd of which I have had the pleasure of being. There were the very young and the very seasoned and die hard fans and new fans. I heard one young one ask her dad if the band would play the song about the camel in the desert. Now, how to get inside and get 4th row center and entertain our 4 year old daughter in line prior to the doors opening and while waiting in our seats.
Doors were due to open at 7:15 so we got there at what I thought would be a late 7:00. I forgot to mention, these seats were all general admission. I should have played lotto that day seeing how we lucked out with only 15 people in line ahead of us. We made are way to the best seats in the house- yes 4th row center.
There is something about those words "Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to- America" that sends a shiver up and down my spine. With the class and talent held by a rare number of performers, America took the stage and spent the next 1-1/2 hours captivating an audience. This unique group of men, took an enthralled audience through an emotional rollercoaster, playing the familiar and not so familiar songs. Maybe it was the demographics of the audience or maybe it was just plain respect, but stone silence followed the thunderous applause after every song. At one point, Dewey commented that it was so quiet that it was eerie. It was interesting to hear Gerry discuss how excited they were to be playing their first time at the Hemmens and how nice the venue was. Having seen America play in many venues and in front of many audiences (no where near the number that B and K hold), I can tell you that this one stands out as a new benchmark. These gentlemen are performers and there is no one better at entertaining fans and making fans. My guess is that 50% of this capacity crowd had little or no recognition of America before the concert. It was a 100% crowd of fans as Horse wound up the show. The set list was consistent with the vast majority of shows held on the tour. Here are a couple of amusing sound bites from the show:
And wearing the substitute teacher look for tonight's show- Gerry referring to Willie's ensemble Am I on the right song? Dewey with a slight mental lapse before California Dreamin' This is her 3rd America concert. This is Emma's second America concert. My exchange with the father of the four year old girl in the 3rd row. That is not an exit! Gerry's quip upon return for his solo encore of All My Life. This was an amazing rendition with everyone on their feet, Gerry had us in the palm of his hand. A little mock eye rubbing by Mr. Beckley after finishing the song lightened everyone up. Cease! Gerry calming the appreciative crowd following Brad's Lonely People
All songs were notable but a couple had major impact. Sandman brought down the house with a rousing standing ovation that took the guys by suprise. Last Unicorn was outstanding and was recognized by a number of younger audience members. The best way to see America is to go with those that really appreciate them and their music. This crowd not only appreciated them but they loved them. This is the satisfaction that drives these guys to stay out on the road after all these years. Thanks guys for an outstanding evening and for thousands of hours of listening pleasure. And thank you for reading.
September 12 & 13, 1997 Sparks, NV
Submitted by Gary B. (TheOtherGB@aol.com)
So there I was sitting at a slot machine, losing of course, when I Iooked up and saw an elephant walking down the street. Yes, it was Bertha. For those of you who read the reviews from earlier in the year, from the last Sparks show, you'll remember that Bertha and Angel are the two Asian elepants which open every show at the Nugget Hotel. It was, to say the very least, an unusal sight.
Of course, Barb and I thought we had bonded with ol' Bertha and Angel at Friday night's show. So on Saturday morning, we sauntered over to their home just to say hello. Bertha was out walking (these pachyderms walk a lot!), but Angel was playing in her pen. After cooing some sweet nothings to Angel, she seemed to give us a nod of recognition. However, moments later she came back to the fence where we were standing and angrily kicked dirt at us. Apparently, "Angel" has a little devil in her!
The opening act for both shows (after Bertha and Angel, of course) was Mario and Daniel, Argentinian comedians who also happen to be brothers. We highly recommend their act should you ever get the opportunity. It is hilarious!!
The Friday nite show was a sellout, as it should be. Both nights were "Greatest Hits" shows; however, songs like "Another Try" and "Never Be Lonely" helped to spice up the mix. From "Riverside" to "Horse" the sounds were perfect. As always we heard comments afterwards like, "I didn't know they still played" and "They sound better than on their records".
One of the current stage "jokes" regards Gerry's harmonica. Angel plays a harmonica during their segment and when Gerry picks up his harmonica he says "it smells like it's been in an old trunk" (laugh now).
The Saturday night audience was smaller but much more into the music than at Friday's show. There were several groups of fans standing and cheering all through the performance. We had shared our table with another couple and every time the guys would start another song the woman would jump up and shriek with delight. Having a roomful of true fans creates so much more energy in the shows. The crowd feeds off of the band's enthusiasm and vice versa. People were singing along and having a wonderful time.
There is good news on the horizon. As previously mentioned, the guys have been practicing some "new" songs for inclusion in the set list. Two favorites that are sure to please are "Company" and "To Each His Own".
Special thanks to Dewey for the guitar picks and to Gerry for the heartwarming recognition.
Alas, all good things must come to an end. We had to leave Sunday to return to the real world. Waiting in the terminal we found that our "star-studded" weekend was not over yet. Sitting at a slot machine, and winning $200.00 no less, was Englebert Humperdinck. After his brief gambling mania, he came over and sat down directly across from us to await our flight to LA. With unruly hair and very ordinary looks, it was hard to picture him as a "sex symbol". It seems incredible that he has the largest fan club in the world, with more than 250 chapters and 8 million members! P.S......one of Englebert's pasttimes......crossword puzzles......in case you're looking for Christmas gift ideas!! A final humorous note. While boarding the plane, one woman approached us with questions about Englebert because she had seen us sitting with him and thought we were part of his entourage! We assured her we were not!!
September 21, 1997 Yakima, WA
Submitted by Rick W. (email@example.com)
For anyone who has ever wondered "Who's on first? (base), the answer was easy on Sunday, Sept. 21 at Yakima. The answer was........Dewey......then Gerry, Woodz, Brad, and Willie.
The guys performed at the Central Washington State Fair Sunday afternoon at the Yakima Bear's baseball stadium, with the stage centered near the infield. Fortunately, there were no hot line drives to contend with......and throughout the concert.....no performing errors by the visiting California "team."
In fact, when we entered the concert site, we drove right through the stadium fence on to the outfield and right up to the stage, feeling somewhat like Ken Griffey Jr. roaming center field....but in air conditioned limo comfort of course.
Right away, we thought of that classic song with the catchy lyrics, "the heat was hot and the ground was dry" as we took our seats. It was a blistering 85 degrees or so, which is to anyone from cooler Western Washington, 115 degrees minimum. The heat also made it somewhat difficult for the guitars to stay in tune all afternoon, but that didn't stop America from shining brightly, as always.
The luckiest person at the the concert was Willie, who sat comfortably in the shade with his drums and sunglasses, never venturing to step out in the sunlight. But that's typical Willie..............the king of cool.
Just before the concert began, we heard some buzzing noises and saw objects whizzing by our heads.......somewhat like a Randy Johnson fastball. But, this was even worse.........wasps!!
I'm not sure who invited them to the concert, but apparently there was a mass invitation of some kind back at the hive. One could only hope that Gerry and Dewey would skip mentioning "honey" in any of the lyrics, knowing this could have the same result as poking the hive with a big stick!
At the beginning of the concert, Dewey graciously thanked a couple that made an authentic Tin Man, that was about 3 feet high, and was left onstage during the concert. It was a labor of love, and much appreciated by the guys. (go ahead bees...............sting this!!)
This was also the first concert after the extended "working vacation" in Sparks, so it was a breath of fresh air.......playing once again for primarily true America fans.
The audience was most appreciative throughout the concert, singing along and dancing. That prompted Dewey to add lyrics to "Everyone I Meet".......which suddenly became "they're dancing in the streets of California, AND YAKIMA, WASHINGTON!!" Of course, that comment was received by the crowd like an out of the park home run.
Then, another buzzing noise! This time it was a plane towing a banner that read, "Win at Wild Horse." No doubt this was in honor of the group that jumped on an unamed horse and took a genuine wild ride lasting more than a quarter of a century so far.
Between the bees and the heat, there was a HUGE highlight awaiting the crowd. "Survival" was added to the playlist (which happens to be my favorite America song), and also "To Each His Own," which Gerry performed impeccably.
"Survival" was a "#1 hit in Singapore" according to Gerry with tongue in cheek, and needed to be practiced in concert for the upcoming Singapore Star Cruise. Note: Ger surely must have meant Singapore, Italy???? :)
America saved some "high heat" for a "stinging" encore performance, and the crowd left thrilled........along with some new tan and burn lines.
But the bees weren't entirely satisfied. They swarmed univited backstage and buzzed hungrily near Gerry's salmon dinner and a tasty blue ribbon award winning piece of apple pie. (Although some seemed to prefer Dewey's choice of blackberry)
America clearly hit a major league grand slam in Yakima, even though the hard to impress bees were last heard buzzing about their plans to crash Willie Nelson's upcoming show at the Yakima Fair Wednesday night entitled "Hive Aid."
On a personal note.......millions of thanks to Gerry and Dewey and all the guys for the memorable time in Yakima, and especially their kindness and consideration.
R.V. PARKS AND THE WINNEBAGOS!!
Don P. (DAPerrone@aol.com) shared this humorous story about the post-AMERICA concert after AMERICA's show at the Westbury, NY Music Fair on August 19, 1997.
I wanted to tell everyone about the 1 NY metro area concert at Westbury Music Fair. The WBF is a great place to see a show.. small and in the round. The stage revolves! Anyway they opened for Air Supply, which meant a very short set for the guys...50 minutes....wah! The guys came out and let us know right away they had to cram alot of songs into a very shot period of time and would not waste too much time talking. The playlist was a "Greatestest Hits" list with a few songs added in such as Three Roses, and Never Be Lonely. The guys were really tight as they are usually. I met up with some on-liners like Maureen, ( can't remember her screen name) and Joe Iacone (Joconi) who asked me to say hello to everyone. Naturally the show ended too soon...then Air Supply came on. like previously mentioned here on the board...they were just awful (sorry Airheads!). They were the complete opposite of America, Too much talking and too loud! Any the best was YET to come. We all left early, (as did alot of people) and went to a local pub. You see it was open mike at the pub and Woodzy, Brad and willie had signed up as R.V. Parks and the Winnebago's!!!
After waiting quite some time for their turn to come, Joe mentioned asked the MC if he really knew who they were and if they could be moved up. Well the MC accomodated them after finding out the truth, and the guys asked a couple of musicians (pianist, harmonica, and guitarist) to play with them. There was maybe about 15-20 people in the pub at the time and the guys started jamming the Blues with Woodzy making up the words (I think) as they went along. It was really great and they just blew everyone away without people there really knowing who they were! After three verry loong songs it was time to give way to the next bunch of musicians ( poor guys, tough act to follow!). he funniest part though was when the MC came back to announce those next musicians he said" how bout a nice hand for a fine bunch of Americans!" What a great ending to a great night!
NOTE: from Horse's Mouth editors.........are these some possible future hit titles for R.V. and the boys????
LEAVES OF GRASS
In "Another Try", Gerry Beckley writes, "Tell him you want him home.....to sit and watch the evenings pass.....and reading of leaves of grass......."
Mary W. (SisSilvrHr@aol.com) provides the following insights about Leaves of Grass.
Just to clear up any misconceptions, Leaves of Grass was a set of books of poetry written by American poet Walt Whitman. He published several volumes starting in 1855. Here's some info about Whitman according to Microsoft Encarta.
In 1855 Whitman issued the first of many editions of Leaves of Grass, a volume of poetry in a new kind of versification, far different from his sentimental rhymed verse of the 1840s. Because he immodestly praised the human body and glorified the senses, Whitman was forced to publish the book at his own expense, setting some of the type himself. His name did not appear on the title page, but the engraved frontispiece portrait shows him posed, arms akimbo, in shirt sleeves, hat cocked at a rakish angle. In a long preface he announced a new democratic literature, icommensurate with a people,i simple and unconquerable, written by a new kind of poet, who was affectionate, brawny, and heroic, and who would lead by the force of his magnetic personality.
Whitman spent the rest of his life striving to become that poet. The 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass contained 12 untitled poems, written in long cadenced lines that resemble the unrhymed verse of the King James Version of the Bible. The best and longest, later entitled iSong of Myself,i was a vision of a symbolic iIi enraptured by the senses, vicariously embracing all people and places from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. No other poem in the first edition has the power of this poem, although iThe Sleepers,i another visionary flight, symbolizing life, death, and rebirth, comes nearest.
HORSE POWER: AMERICA'S FIRST ALBUM
Date: Thu, 5 Jun 1997
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James Riccioli)
Subject: America's debut album
Greetings, Rick! I recently found your homepage and then received the e-mail newsletter via email@example.com. Your question about America's first album intrigued me. I couldn't let an opportunity such as this one pass. To think, just one week ago, the best I could do was silently anguish as one of the Lonely People, riding along like A Horse With No Name, out of contact with other America fans. I Never Found the Time to find America concert schedules, which your web site makes insanely easy now. I'll be sure to pass this blessing on to my Children on some Rainy Day. You don't have to hit me with a Donkey Jaw to show me a good thing. Clearly, I Need You.
So, what about America's first album? Actually, it was almost too intimidating for me to write about. To me, America (the album) was something special. Like the Beatles' first album, which helped define a special sound that would become the Fab Four's trademark for years, America's America was such a melodic, acoustical, harmonious effort that it stands apart from their own subsequent recordings as well as contemporary artists of the early 1970s.
There's no question that Dewey's, Gerry's and Dan's three-part harmonies deserved some comparison to Crosby, Stills and Nash (and Young) -- that is, as much as the Beatles owed their style and therefore success to Elvis. What America, the album, did was take that CSN influence and turn it into something even more unique.
The most incredible element of the album is that it provided full-bodied music with little, and in some cases virtually no, percussion on its even-dozen tracks. Clearly, this trio of guitarists and songwriters helped define soft rock for an entire decade. And they did it without layers of studio strings that became more commonplace in both their own music and other soft rock artists later in the decade. The production of America was straightforward and honest -- truly showcasing the abilities of the principal trio.
Other elements offered intrigue. "A Horse With No Name" would deservedly become a timeless classic, of which America fans and many soft-rock aficionados will never forget. But it had to start somewhere. It started on America, a place where its melodic tone was matched -- perhaps even surpassed -- by songs like "I Never Found the Time." And while the three-part harmonies offered similar value to songs like "Clarice," the album also gave fans insight into the individual talents of all three songwriters and singers. Dewey's vocal on "Horse" and Gerry's on "I Need You" showcased their contrasting qualities -- something that was never so apparent on CSN or even the Beatles, who we only got to know individually several albums into their careers.
Was the album perfect? Apparently not. I still recall reading Rolling Stone magazine reviews of all of America's albums. There might be some merit to scrutinizing musical elements as if they were mathematical formulas. I can't say for sure. All that I know is that America's first album was stunning enough to earn them a Grammy as best new group and put them on a path of five successful and powerful years of music making.
Sadly, the music evolved. The evolution wasn't a problem, mind you, but the mindset that suggested that the group HAD to change was. Only Homecoming, their second album, came close to matching the honest beginnings of the group. While Holiday and Hideaway in 1974 and 1976, respectively, provided stunning new directions and song qualities for fans, they couldn't match the original in significance or uniqueness.
In fact, America can never be the same without Dan Peek. While not the most gifted vocalist, he added element (high-end harmonies, harmonic harmonicas, and guitar talents) to America that can only be mimicked but never truly duplicated. As the album sleeves would repeatedly state over the years: Americ a is Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek. One could argue that "America" (the album) was truly America (the group).
For too many years, America's sound has been likened to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. In practically every America bio I have ever read, they are constantly referred to as CSN&Y rip-offs or as being heavily influenced by the quartet -- even their later material. This typecast was borne out of the influence of their eponymous debut album, which remains their only album to top the charts. This album does sound a little bit like CSN&Y, except that "America" had a far more stripped-down feel than that of their predecessors, and very little of their occasionally bluesy sound. America's vocals also come across a bit smoother than those of CSN&Y.
With its intricate, yet energetic bare-bones acoustic sound, "America" is the consummate travel album. I lived in Southern California for many years, and there was nothing like hearing the opening riffs of "Riverside" as I headed out on the freeway for another adventure somewhere. ("We are here with nothing to do today... Where will we be tomorrow?..." -- "Here") There is a feeling of excitement mixed in with peacefulness in "Riverside", which perfectly matches that sense of exploration on a trip to somewhere new. ("Takin' life like a big, long ride... You take what you want, I'll take the sunshine..." -- "Riverside")
Along with the sense of freespirited travel is that of space, lots of it. The title of the album (and the name of the group) hints that when they recorded this album in England, their thoughts were very much on the United States and its vast spaces. The lyrics of "A Horse With No Name" tell the story of someone who has spent nine days in the desert with nothing but a hot sun and a nameless horse for companions. "Here" is all about thoughts of the past being conjured up by the confused sense of location in the present. In "Rainy Day," Dan sings about how we can long for someone when they are "miles away."
As this was America's first effort, this album has no single musical direction. There are, of course, elements of pop ("I Need You") and rock ("Sandman"), but there are also strains of folk ("Pigeon Song") and country ("Rainy Day"'s steel guitar). Compared with other hit songs of the day, such as "American Pie" by Don McLean, "Day After Day" by Badfinger, and even Neil Young's "Heart Of Gold," "A Horse With No Name" comes across as downright ethereal. Even rock critics reviewing their live performances didn't know what to make of their image. Rolling Stone compared them to the Kingston Trio -- except that they were dressed like they were heading out to the local diner or to smoke a bowl.
Compared with future efforts, "America" is a unique effort by the group because of its frequent use of long instrumental segments ("Sandman", "Here", "Donkey Jaw"). For a group which averaged LESS than three minutes a song for most of the 1970s, five tracks are four minutes or longer, and three are longer than five minutes. These riffs are unique to rock in general because they are largely acoustic in nature. For these reasons (and because it was a very popular album), "America"'s album tracks are the only ones still played somewhat regularly on classic rock stations to this day. (I recently heard "Riverside" in a Denny's in San Luis Obispo, for instance.)
Other interesting observations... "Did you hear of my enlistment" from "Sandman" sounds like one of the few times other than "Harbor"'s "Political Poachers" that America attempted to address contemporary political issues (unlike CSN&Y, who had no trouble being overtly political in "Ohio")... The chimes on "Clarice" do a fine job in bringing out the color of the lyrics, "Time is coming soon, I'll find you"... I like how the triple guitar strum (which, when heard in stereo, seems to move from left to right) following the break in "Children" seems to represent Dewey, Gerry, and Dan in a taste of their onstage performances... At 1:16 into "Never Found The Time," the right-hand portion of the stereo cuts out for two seconds -- watch out all you audiophile purists!!!
Kalmbach Publishing Co.
21027 Crossroads Circle
Waukesha, WI 53187
America's debut album is my favorite America album. Probably because I learned to play guitar listening to and playing riffs from this album. Also America's harmonies and acoustic guitar sound attracted me to this album.
All songs on this album are great songs, even the "Pigeon Song" is a good song, as simple as it may be. Gerry, Dewey, and Dan all show off their song writing talents on this album. Dewey in my opinion wrote the stronger songs on the album. The album opens with three of Deweys best, "Riverside", "Sandman", and "Three Roses". Also the album contains three of my favorite Dan Peak songs, "Rainy Day", "Never Found the Time", and "Donkey Jaw". Side one ends with my favorite Beckley song on the album, "Here". Beckley's classic "I need you" opens side two. Also on the Album is the song that started it all "A Horse With No Name"(a song with a hint of environmentalism, not heroin as many suspected).
One thing I like about this album is the credits listed for each song. Each song lists the musicians and instruments played, a real treat. Also you may note that Dave Lindley played electric guitar on Dewey's "Children", and steel guitar on Dan's "Rainy Day". Dave toured extensively and recorded with Jackson Brown and Crosby-Nash, and was a much sought after studio musician in the 70's. Dave also had a simi-hit record with "Crazy bout my Mercury" before Alan Jackson recorded it.
When this album was released many people thought that Neil Young had joined a new band. In fact at the time Neil Young had released his classic album "Harvest", and if I remember right, Neil's "Heart of Gold" and America's "Horse with no Name" were both on the charts as top ten records the same week. "Horse" of coups went to number one.
Great album, or should I say CD (I'm aging myself).
Subject: Re: Dan Peek/1st album
Date: 17 Sep 1997 10:11:36 EDT
Dan Peek's single, "All Things Are Possible" is one of my favorite songs. Singing wise, his vibrato-less soaring harmonies was a great contrast and enhancement to Gerry's distinctive, intimate and breathiness and Dewey's vibratoed, nasal, tone-colors. His songwriting, both chords and lyrics, was simpler, too. They sure were great together (though I love what Dewey and Gerry are doing now)!
I, too, think their first album was their best. Generally speaking, isn't that often the case with music groups? They spend years and years polishing their songwriting and singing. Then the material is good enough to get them a record deal. As soon as they sign, now they've got to put another alum out in 12 months or so. Though groups have honed their skills as paid musician/singers, the soul, i.e. songwriting, of those first few albums sometimes never equals the first. Don't get me wrong, I think America's later efforts such as Harbor and Hideaway were great, too...but I'll never forget how floored I was to hear "A Horse With No Name" the first time. Ran out and bought the album again and again until the grooves wore out.
Comments: Authenticated sender is
To: Rick Wahlgren (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 11:15:09 +0000 MIME-Version: 1.0
X-mailer: Pegasus Mail for Win32 (v2.42)
Hiya Rick, Loved the latest newsletter. Thanks so much for all the effort you and others put into it. I think your idea of discussing albums is great, but I fear if we do it one at a time, some of us might not have our vision, or worse, when the later works are featured!
My thoughts on the debut album: I think the first album, America, is one of, if not the, best. No offense to later material, but the first album has a consistency I don't hear in many of the other works. I especially like the acoustical nature of it and think America sounds best without strings and other orchestral work in the background (although I do adore Hideaway I and II as well as Miniature -- but then, there are no vocals in those). I think they sound best with lots of acoustic guitar work, deep bass and drums. My favorite songs on it are: Clarice (would love to hear that on a live album!), Riverside, Here, and Three Roses. I do, however, think the versions of Here and Sandman are better on the King Biscuit Live album.
DAN PEEK/PEACE UPDATE
Pleased to report that Brian Gentry and Ken Marvin of Peace are currently practicing with three musicians in order to begin touring. Dan Peek (of Peace) is unable to join the tour at this time, but hopefully will be able to in the near future.
Any Peace tour dates will be added immediately to the Peace home page, and for concert bookings, send email to: email@example.com
You can still order the very popular Peace CDs featuring Dan Peek
Date: 20 Aug 1997
For the historical record: The following is an excerpt from Variety on a show by AMERICA done at the Bitter End in NYC, dated March 1, 1972. The original author is Kirb. You are there ....
AMERICA, a trio of U.S .expatriates living in England, have returned to the U.S . for the first time in five years with a sudden fame that appears justified in their first New York dates. The act was virtually unknown a couple of months back, but their debut Warner bros. Album has really stirred things up.
The combo all played acoustic guitar with DEWEY BUNNELL & often GERRY BECKLEY on six-string & Dan Peek usually on 12. Peek, however, also plays bass guitar, while BECKLEY also plays bass & 12-string guitars. All take turns at lead guitar & they share vocal leads.
Although the youths obviously are nervous during their first U.S. appearances, the material is there with every indication that AMERICA is capable of performing it well. Most of their numbers are solid originals, but they also score with Arlo Guthrie's "Los Angeles." "SANDMAN" & "I NEED YOU" are among their many first rate tunes.
AMERICA'S vocals often hide the trio's proficiency on guitar & they were sometimes out of tune. But overall they're on the road. Kirb
I know Gerry Beckley personally. We met years ago at a concert they were playing at "The Club Casino - Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. Since then, (9 years ago) we have talked on and off either at concerts or on the phone. I work at New Balance Athletic Shoes Inc.in Boston (Gerry loves our athletic shoes too!!).
The first time I saw America was at the "Music Hall" in Boston back in 1972. I was in the 10th grade. Since then I have bought every album, tape or CD. Their music has something very special. It makes you feel good. It makes me remember the Fall days I would be hiking in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts or the Green Mountains of Vermont.
Some of the happiest times of my life was during the 70's. The group America was my group. I learned every song on every album. I'm still am amazed at how popular and great they sound. They are better than ever!!!
I play the guitar and attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. I have tailored my guitar playing after Dewey and Gerry.
My favorite America songs are:
1. Three roses
2. Another try.
3. Sarah please.
4. Ventura Highway.
6. Horse with no name.
7. Only in your heart.
8. Who's going to love you (I think that's the name).
9. Watership down.
10. Till the sun comes up again.
I could go on and on.
Take care and keep me abreast of any new news.
AMERICA T-SHIRTS NOW AVAILABLE!!!
Make a fashion statement and wear a 97-98 America Tour T-Shirt. These shirts are now available on the America Home Page and make perfect gifts, especially for the upcoming holidays!
AMERICA HOME PAGE UPDATES
The America Home Page was included by Lycos in their "Best Sites On the Web" mega-book, which is available through Waldenbooks. The America site was one of the few music sites selected.
Also, if you haven't had a chance to read the America page guestbook, check it out. The depth of support, love, and appreciation for America is inspiring and uplifting, and the comments are fun to read.
On the America Fans web page, Steve Lowry has added a new room to the America In Concert Museum. The new room is called the Souvenir Room and the first two entries are t-shirt photos. The first photo is the t-shirt from the 25th anniversary 1995-96 world tour and the second photo is the t-shirt from the 1997-98 (i.e., current) tour.
The AOL folder is a great place to exchange ideas and information with other America fans. Now there is a similar folder on the America Fans web page called the America Fans Chat Folder. It gives many America fans that have access to the Internet but don't have access to AOL the chance to also exchange their ideas and information.
ROAD APPLE AWARD
This edition's winner of the distinguished Horse's Mouth Road Apple Award goes to syndicated humor columnist and wannabe rock star Dave Barry, who will no doubt be humbled and amused with appreciation. Dave wins the award hands down for placing "Horse With No Name" TWICE in past columns as one of the "Top Ten Worst Songs!!"
But, as all readers learn.......NEVER take Dave Barry seriously!
C'mon Dave! Just because you didn't write "Horse" and take the ride to rock star superstardom and ended up writing newspaper columns instead. Or was it just too tough to play all the chords in Horse (some say only two), and remember all the lyrics and LA LA LAS at the same time?????!!!
Maybe, just maybe (if you get REAL LUCKY) and you are in the audience at an America concert in the near future, the guys will be gracious enough to invite you onstage to "help out" with "Horse," so you should start practicing all those LA LA LAS just in case!!! Then, your lifetime fantasy of becoming a rock star will come true for at least a fleeting minute........and then all will return to hum-drum normalcy.
But, don't get the wrong idea Dave, I will always continue reading your (usually fantastic except when you mention "Horse") columns first in the newspaper as one of your biggest fans!
Congratulations on receiving the first Road Apple Award!
HORSE'S MOUTH NEWSLETTER SUBMISSIONS
Send in your trivia, concert reviews, America memories, opinions, commentaries, etc. for the Winter edition of The Horse's Mouth!!!!!!
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rick Wahlgren) or email@example.com (Rick's AOL "handle") or firstname.lastname@example.org (Barbara Bickmore)
1717 Matz Road
Ferndale, Washington 98248
America Home Page (by Rick Wahlgren)
Classic Rock Band in Pictures (by Ike Gauley)
America Fans Home Page (by Steve Lowry)
Dan Peek....Peace Home Page (by Rick Wahlgren)
AOL America Message Board (this is a permanent message board). Gerry and Dewey are AOL members, and read the America message board often.............
Last Revised: 29 May 2004