America – Homecoming

Artist: America
Genre: Folk-Rock, Soft Rock
Title: Homecoming
Label:Warner Bros
Format: Vinyl
Musicians:Dan Peek – guitar, keyboards, vocals, Gerry Beckley – guitar, keyboards, vocals, bass guitar, Dewey Bunnell – guitar, vocals, percussion, Joe Osborn – bass guitar, Hal Blaine – drums, percussion, Gary Mallaber – drums and percussion
Engineer:Bill Halverson, Chuck Leary, Mike Stone
Mastering Engineer: Lee Herschberg

Homecoming is the second studio album by America. It is acoustic guitar-based, with a more pronounced electric guitar and keyboard section than their first album. This second effort helped continue the band’s success, and includes one of their best known hits, “Ventura Highway”. For this album and the next six throughout the next five years, the group traditionally chose titles beginning with the letter “H” (the self-titled debut album became unofficially included in this distinction when fans started referring to it as the “Horse with No Name” album when that track was added to later pressings).

My copy of this LP is in a tri-fold jacket and on the green Warner Bros label, which was known for being very good pressings and that continues here.

Side one begins with “Ventura Highway”. This hit is one of my favorites on this LP. From Wikipedia:Dewey Bunnell, the song’s vocalist and writer, has said that the lyric “alligator lizards in the air” in the song is a reference to the shapes of clouds in the sky he saw in 1963 while his family was driving down the coast from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, where they had a flat tire. While his father changed the tire, he and his brother stood by the side of the road and watched the clouds and saw a road sign for “Ventura”. In the booklet for the boxed-set, Highway, he states that the song “reminds me of the time I lived in Omaha as a kid and how we’d walk through cornfields and chew on pieces of grass. There were cold winters, and I had images of going to California. So I think in the song I’m talking to myself, frankly: ‘How long you gonna stay here, Joe?’ I really believe that ‘Ventura Highway’ has the most lasting power of all my songs. It’s not just the words — the song and the track have a certain fresh, vibrant, optimistic quality that I can still respond to”. The song has a “Go West, young man” motif in the structure of a conversation between an old man named Joe and a young and hopeful kid. Joe was modeled after a “grumpy” old man he had met while his dad was stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi at Keesler Air Force Base. He also stated “I remember vividly having this mental picture of the stretch of the coastline traveling with my family when I was younger. Ventura Highway itself, there is no such beast, what I was really trying to depict was the Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1, which goes up to the town of Ventura.” “That’s Gerry and Dan doing a harmony on two guitars on the intro. I remember us sitting in a hotel room, and I was playing the chords, and Gerry got that guitar line, and he and Dan worked out that harmony part. That’s really the hook of the song“.

The second track “To Each His Own”, is a pop ballad and one of my favorite tracks on the LP.  “Don’t Cross the River” is a folk-rock style song and the banjo gives it a bit of country flavor, good song too. Track four gives us “Moon Song” with the signature America sound. Track five, “Only in Your Heart”, includes some keyboard/synth work, which is not the norm for this band. Yes, it is a good song too.

Side two begins with a good solid song titled, “Till the Sun Comes Up Again”“Cornwall Blank” is the second song on side two and a great song. It is similar in nature to the song “Donkey Jaw” from the band’s debut LP. Track three is “Head and Heart” and is somewhat similar in signature to the opening track on this LP, “Ventura Highway”.
“California Revisited” follows and “Saturn Nights” is the album’s closer, which is very appropriate.


Mark Knopfler – Sailing To Philadelphia

Artist: Mark Knopfler
Genre: Rock
Title:Sailing To Philadelphia
Released: 2000
Label: Warner Bros
Format: CD
Musicians: Mark Knopfler-vocals, guitar, Richard Bennett-guitars, Jim Cox-piano & Hammond organ, Guy Fletcher-keyboards & backing vocals, Glenn Worf-bass, Chad Cromwell-drums, Aubrey Haynie – violin on What It Is, Paul Franklin-pedal steel, Danny Cummings-percussion, Jim Hoke-harmonica, autoharp, Jim Horn & Harvey Thompson-sax, Wayne Jackson-trumpet, Frank Ricotti-marimba, Mike Haynes-fugal horn, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings-vocals, Mike Henderson-mandolin
Producer:Chuck Ainlay & Mark Knopfler
Recording Engineer: Chuck Ainlay
Mastering Engineer: Denny Purcell at Georgetown Masters

Mark Knopfler, (born 12 August 1949) is a British singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer and film score composer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Dire Straits, which he co-founded with his younger brother, David Knopfler, in 1977.
Since Dire Straits disbanded in 1995, Knopfler has recorded and produced eight solo albums, and, as with his previous band, produced many hit songs. He has composed and produced film scores for nine films, including Local Hero (1983), Cal (1984), The Princess Bride (1987), Wag the Dog (1997) and Altamira (2016).
Official website:

Sailing to Philadelphia is the second solo studio album by British singer-songwriter and guitarist Mark Knopfler, released on 26 September 2000.
The title track is drawn from Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon, a novel about Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon,the two English surveyors who established the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia in the 1760s. The border later became known as the Mason–Dixon line and has been used since the 1820s to denote the border between the Southern United States and the Northern United States.

There are two special guest artists featured in vocals on this album. James Taylor is guest vocals on the title track, Sailing To Philadelphia and Van Morrison guest stars on The Last Laugh.

Highlights: The opening track “What It Is” is one of my favorites on the album. It’s a homage to his hometown in Scotland. It has a sound in the vein of his album Shang-ra-la. Violin is in this track interestingly enough. The second track “Sailing To Philadelphia” is the title track obviously. It is a sudden dive in tempo and feel from the first track. While it is low energy, it’s enjoyable and if you note a James Taylor kind of feel, that’s because James Taylor is actually a guest artist on it handling some vocal duties.
Uh, sailing along (pun) we come to track number four “Baloney Again” there is an interesting use of the element of cricket sounds and the lyrics are also interesting. The song is pretty much about segregation in the south.
Coming to track seven, “El Macho” there is something different about this song as it also has a subtle spanish flavor with the use of trumpet. I found it enjoyable. Track eight, “Prairie Wedding” brings us back to the familiar Mark Knopfler sound, but in slower tempo. This is another of my favorite tracks on the album. Getting to “Junkie Doll”, while I found it to be just “meh”, it is worth a good listen though for the guitar work and structure. The song is about a junkie obviously enough.


What It Is
Prarie Weding:

America – Self Titled


Artist: America
Title: America
Released: 1971
Label: Warner Bros
Format: Vinyl
Genre: Folk, Folk-Rock
Musicians:Dewey Bunnell – Acoustic Guitar, Vocals, Dan Peek – 12-string acoustic guitar, Ray Cooper – Percussion, Dave Atwood – Drums, Dave Lindley – Electric Guitar, Kim Haworth – Drums on Horse With No Name, Gerry Beckley – Lead Guitar, Bass
Producer: Ian Samwell & America
Engineer: Ken Scott

America is a rock band, formed in England in 1970 by multi-instrumentalists Dewey Bunnell, Dan Peek, and Gerry Beckley.
America achieved significant popularity in the 1970s, and was famous for the trio’s close vocal harmonies and light acoustic folk sound. This popularity was confirmed by a string of hit albums and singles, many of which found airplay on pop/soft rock stations. Continue reading