The thrift stores / charity shops in New Zealand aren’t great. We call them op shops here, short for ‘opportunity’. I’m not really sure why. I guess it’s like jandals (flip-flops) and trundlers (trolleys) – they just decided on their own name when they started up over here.
I check the op shops every now and again, but aside from a face-full of Nana Mouskouri (and what a face!), I tend to leave empty-handed with dirty hands and a smell of dead people in my nostrils. Fingering Nana Mouskouri seldom has its rewards. I might find an album like this for a dollar; and of course the name of the producer on the back (the Beatles’ George Martin) means that a dollar will be well-spent.
If you look at George Martin’s post-Beatles’ career in the ‘70s, there seems to be a lot of material along the lines of America – safe AOR, possibly more suited to Martin’s age at the time. All accomplished musicians but hardly anything to rock the boat. He probably deserved something a little stressful after revolutionising recording techniques with the fab four. This was like his retirement. It was either this or cruising.
Oddly, the artwork for the album cover was by Phil Hartman, at the time a little-known artist who would end up on Saturday Night Live and on the early seasons of the Simpsons as Troy McClure. Hartman was eventually murdered by his wife in the middle of the night in 1998.
Gun-control might make America the country very dangerous, but America the band are very safe. It’s almost impossible to believe that George Martin produced them, given how similar every song sounds production-wise. They’re well recorded of course, but there’s just no production. I think I bought this record on the same day as I bought Seals & Croft’s Greatest Hits, a collection of similarly radio-friendly hits and Chicago’s X album. They were probably from the same person’s collection. It’s nice that I was able to keep them together.
Hit: Horse With No Name
Hidden Gem: Woman Tonight