Shipped as a gold record and hitting the top of the Billboard pop album chart, it was the group’s third chart-topping album in a row, and remains as their second biggest-seller after Déjà Vu. Not a bad list of accomplishments, considering the album’s eleven tracks represented half the band’s total output of twenty-two studio tracks by this point.
Rushed out by Atlantic Records to capitalise on the quartet’s reunion tour of 1974, the record features cover-art painted by Joni Mitchell and contains five of band’s six singles to date (inexplicably excluding Marrakesh Express), together with five album tracks (three from the self-titled debut and two from Déjà Vu). Also included is the first LP appearance of the Neil Young-written single Ohio, and its Stephen Stills-penned b-side Find The Cost Of Freedom.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the band America was from that side of the Atlantic. Aside from their name, they also sound a lot like an American proposition; not a million miles away from the soft-rock and smooth harmonies of the Eagles.
Formed in 1970, the trio (one British-born, two American-born) met each other while studying in London where their respective fathers were stationed in the U.S. Air Force. They wisely named themselves America to avoid people thinking they were a British band trying to sound American.
Unfortunately they’re the type of band that is now relegated to charity shops. Future singles A Horse With No Name (later added to this album upon its release as a single) and Ventura Highway are both fantastic and still sound great today.
Produced by Ian Samwell, the man who wrote Cliff Richard’s Move It, the band’s self-titled debut is a nice slice of somewhat melancholic folk pop. More than anything, they follow the template set down by Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) – in fact, the lead single on this record, I Need You, bears more than a passing resemblance to CSNY’s Our House from their Déjà Vu album.
As an aside, surely Neil Young’s sometime-membership of that band should compel us to refer to them as Crosby, Stills, Nash Or Young…