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You Can Do Magic: America, Burritos, Atlanta Rhythm Section Reissues Coming to CD From BGO

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Whether you’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name, found some Rhythm in Atlanta or visited the gilded palace of sin, the United Kingdom’s BGO label just might have a reissue for you.  On June 4, the label will introduce bring long-out-of-print titles from The Flying Burrito Brothers and Atlanta Rhythm Section to CD, and bring back a pair of hard-to-find albums from America.

Though the group’s original incarnation was short-lived, The Flying Burrito Brothers remain a cornerstone of country-rock.  The band had its roots in The Byrds, formed by Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons of that band with Chris Ethridge and “Sneaky” Pete Kleinow in 1968.  This line-up recorded just one album, The Gilded Palace of Sin, before the departure of bassist Ethridge.  Hillman moved over to bass, future Eagle Bernie Leadon joined on guitar, and another ex-Byrd, Michael Clarke, joined on drums.  This group recorded 1970’s Burrito Deluxe, but internal strife led founder Parsons to decamp for a solo career which would be cut short by his untimely death.  Rick Roberts joined the remaining four members for 1971’s self-titled album, but after 1972’s Last of the Red Hot Burritos live album, the band would break up.  By the time of Red Hot, Leadon and Kleinow had also jumped ship, with Hillman, Roberts and Clarke joined by Al Perkins and Kenny Wertz on guitars.  A group that once held so much promise had crashed and burned.  Of course, the Burritos would be Flying Again in 1975, with yet more personnel changes, but that’s a tale for another day.

Following Gram Parsons’ death in 1973 of a drug overdose, interest in his back catalogue naturally grew, and A&M Records issued a double-LP, 23-song compilation, Close Up the Honky Tonks, to meet the growing demand.  It contained one LP of tracks from the Burritos’ first two records, adding the non-LP single “The Train Song.” The second LP introduced 11 previously unreleased tracks including covers of The Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody,” Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over, Beethoven” and the Everly Brothers’ “Wake Up, Little Susie.”  It’s somewhat surprising that it’s taken this long for Honky Tonks to receive a CD reissue, but it’s now here, courtesy of BGO.  Most of these tracks have been reissued in various places over the years, but Close Up the Honky Tonks offers one-stop shopping as a combined best-of and rarities set.

Hit the jump for the scoop on reissues from America and Atlanta Rhythm Section!

Following a long, hit-filled stint at Warner Bros. Records, America joined Capitol Records in 1979 for the Silent Letter album, the band’s first without founder Dan Peek.  It was also America’s farewell to producer George Martin, who had guided them through five albums and such hits as “Sister Golden Hair,” “Tin Man” and “Lonely People.”  The group’s Capitol tenure yielded the Top 10 entry “You Can Do Magic” (written by former Argent guitarist Russ Ballard) in 1982, but by 1984, the once-prolific group’s harmonies and folk/rock-influenced style had fallen out of favor.  America finished its Capitol contract with the two albums being reissued by BGO, 1984’s Perspective and 1985’s In Concert.

Perspective has long been one of the group’s most difficult-to-find albums on CD (just check out these prices, second-hand, on!) and also one of America’s least-known.  Many producers including Richie Zito and Matthew McCauley attempted to update the band’s sound with a typical glossy eighties production of electronic instrumentation, but “Special Girl” and “Can’t Fall Asleep to a Lullaby” (co-written by Steve Perry of Journey and the band’s friend Bill Mumy of Lost in Space fame) failed to crack the pop charts.  The album itself only made No. 185 on the Billboard 200.  That was a better placing than In Concert.  America’s first album to be released on CD, it was drawn from a performance in Santa Barbara, California, and featured familiar favorites like “I Need You,” “Daisy Jane,” “Horse with No Name” and “You Can Do Magic.”  Still, In Concert failed to chart whatsoever, and the band retreated from recording for nearly a decade, not returning until 1994’s Hourglass.  While neither album contained on this reissue is a classic, dedicated fans of Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell’s duo shouldn’t hesitate to pick this one up and fill in the gaps in that America collection!

Atlanta Rhythm Section’s Are You Ready! makes its CD debut from BGO.  Much as The Flying Burrito Brothers formed out of The Byrds, ARS arose from the ashes of The Classics IV, the 1960s band behind “Spooky,” “Stormy” and “Traces.”  Buddy Buie and J.R. Cobb, songwriters and producers, Robert Nix and Dean Daughtry all hailed from the Classics IV family.  Joining with other musicians as the house band at Doraville, Georgia’s Studio One, ARS would simultaneously play on others’ records while honing their own material.  Though their first album was released in 1972, their first Top 10 hit didn’t come until 1976 with Buie, Daughtry and Nix’s “So Into You.”  Further hits followed, including the same trio’s 1978 “Imaginary Lover” and even a Top 20 reworking of the Classics IV’s “Spooky” in 1979.  The southern rockers’ 1979 live album Are You Ready! made No. 51 on the Billboard 200 and offers both “So Into You” and “Imaginary Lover” among its 14 songs.  ARS would soldier on until 1981 and the Quinella LP, then returning in 1989 with the Truth in a Structured Form LP.  Are You Ready! was recorded during a high point in the band’s popularity and is a reminder of the band’s power as a live act.

All three titles from BGO are due in stores on June 4 in the U.K. and approximately one week later on American shores.  You’ll find pre-order links below!

America, Perspective/In Concert (BGO CD1053, 2012)

  1. We Got All Night
  2. See How the Love Goes
  3. Can’t Fall Asleep to a Lullabye
  4. Special Girl
  5. 5th Avenue
  6. (It’s Like You) Never Left At All
  7. Stereo
  8. Lady with a Bluebird
  9. Cinderella
  10. Unconditional Love
  11. Fallin’ Off The World
  12. Tin Man
  13. I Need You
  14. The Border
  15. Sister Golden Hair
  16. Company
  17. You Can Do Magic
  18. Ventura Highway
  19. Daisy Jane
  20. Horse With No Name
  21. Survival

Tracks 1-11 from Perspective, Capitol ST-12370, 1984
Tracks 12-21 from In Concert, Capitol ST-12422, 1985

Atlanta Rhythm Section, Are You Ready! (Polydor PD-2-6236, 1979 – reissued BGO CD1052, 2012)

  1. Prelude: Tara’s Theme
  2. Sky High
  3. Champagne Jam
  4. I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight
  5. Large Time
  6. Back Up Against The Wall
  7. Angel (What In The World’s Come Over Us)
  8. Conversation
  9. Imaginary Lover
  10. Doraville
  11. Another Man’s Woman
  12. Georgia Rhythm
  13. So Into You
  14. Long Tall Sally

The Flying Burrito Brothers, Close Up the Honky Tonks (A&M SP-3631, 1974 – reissued BGO CD1050, 2012)

  1. Hot Burrito No. 2
  2. Do Right Woman
  3. Wheels
  4. Sin City
  5. Christine’s Tune
  6. Hot Burrito No. 1
  7. God’s Own Singer
  8. If You Gotta Go
  9. High Fashion Queen
  10. Cody, Cody
  11. Wild Horses
  12. The Train Song
  13. Close Up The Honky Tonks
  14. Sing Me Back Home
  15. Bony Moronie
  16. To Love Somebody
  17. Break My Mind
  18. Beat The Heat
  19. Did You See
  20. Here Tonight
  21. Money Honey
  22. Roll Over Beethoven
  23. Wake Up Little Susie

Written by Joe Marchese

May 10, 2012 at 14:28

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