Heritage: Home Recordings/Demos 1970-1973
Review by David Bowling
Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley, and Dan Peek formed America during the late 1960’s. The early 1970’s found them producing a string of hit singles including “A Horse With No Name,” “Ventura Highway,” “Lonely People,” “Tin Man,” “Woman Tonight,” and “Sister Golden Hair.” Their brand of light rock proved to be commercially successful and radio friendly. While the 1970’s would be their creative nadir, Bunnell and Beckley would remain together for the next four plus decades.
America has now returned to its roots with their latest release. Heritage: Home Recordings/Demos 1970-1973 gathers together 15 demos from their classic period, including nine previously unreleased songs.
The album is a niche release for fans of the band or possibly of the era. Recorded mostly at Beckley’s home studio, it presents an intimate look of the band at the beginning of their career. While it may not be the equal of their first two albums recorded during the time period; it fills in a number of gaps in their career.
“Man Of Pride,” “James Holliday,” and “”Sea Of Destiny” are the most complete songs. The harmonies and gentle rhythms are intact but they are not the equal of their best material. ‘”Songs such as “Riverside,” “Rainy Day,” and “Ventura Highway” are works in progress and give a glimpse of their developmental process. There is also a hidden track, which is an a cappella version of “A Horse With No Name.”
America released a lot of excellent music during the 1970’s. Heritage: Home Recordings/Demos 1970-1973 is a trip back in time to their most productive period. It is a journey worth taking for any fan of the band.