Tuesday, September 21, 2010

374. Eagles. No, not the one with Hotel California.

The Eagles

  1. Take It Easy
  2. Witchy Woman
  3. Chug All Night
  4. Most of Us Are Sad
  5. Nightingale
  6. Train Leaves Here This Morning
  7. Take the Devil
  8. Earlybird
  9. Peaceful Easy Feeling
  10. Tryin'
Some band's create new music by taking the best aspects of existing genres and combining them into something new and exciting. The Pogues took the ethos of punk and the instruments of traditional music and made Celtic Punk. The Grateful Dead took the riffs and rhythms of rock and roll and the freeform nature of jazz and created the Jam band scene. The White stripes took the energy of punk, the riffing of rockabilly and the rhythm of blues to create... whatever the hell it is the White Stripes play. Exciting new forms of music have been made by artists with an urge take music places it's never been before by cherry picking what they like from what already exists and wandering off down a musical lane and seeing where they end up.

And then there are bands who pick the worst of certain genres and give birth to something awful. The Eagles are such a band. They managed to blend the self-indulgent nature of rock with the tedium of country and the lack of urgency of folk to make country-folk-rock. Their debut album is a key moment in this particular genre and makes for some very bland listening. I've had to write at length about Jackson Browne already in this countdown. While some people love him I've always found him so inoffensive that his music deletes itself from my mind as soon as I've heard it. Mr Browne is credited as writer or co-writer of two of the songs on this release and his hand seems to be all over it. The two biggest tracks on the album were
Take it Easy and Peaceful Easy Feeling, both of which are very Browne like- laid back and relaxed. Jackson recorded Take it Easy, which he co-wrote, himself and while he didn't write Peaceful Easy Feeling he might as well have. It's a Browne tune from it's casual and relaxed tempo right down to it's whistful lyrics. In fact it's possible that Browne did write this track it's just that his music is so forgettable he'd lost all recollection of it after he demoed it to the Eagles and they never bothered to let him know.

While the album tries to rock and roll a bit from time to time it never reaches the Rock heights that bands like Creedence or the Stones could hit and in comparison it just comes off sounding bland and ineffective. I get the impression that it's appearance on this listing is a bit of a surprise. While The Eagles Greatest Hits was a monster selling release this early album was never critically lauded when it came out and hasn't been re-evaluated in the years since.

The surprising thing about this album's level of tedium isn't that it came from the Eagles but that it was produced by Glyn Johns. There aren't too many producers that I pay attention to but Mr John's is one of them. He had worked with some of the greatest musicians ever to put exciting sounds onto pieces of vinyl. He started out working with The Beatles before going on to produce The Rolling Stones (Get your ya yas out), Joe Satriani (self titled), The Who (Who's next and others), Midnight Oil (Place without a postcard), Dylan (Real Live), The Small Faces (Ogden's nut gone flake) and Eric Clapton (Slowhand). He's a guy you call on when you want a good rock sound and yet he's credited with helping the Eagles to find their distinctive sound. Thankfully Who's Next is enough to forgive him all his sins.

Witchy Woman
Peaceful Easy Feeling

Influenced by:
Jackson Browne and other tedious people

Jackson Browne and other tedious people

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote:
If the Eagles never won a Best New Artist Grammy,I'm sure they were at least a nominee. Here is their 1972 self-titled debut featuring three Top 10 hits:TAKE IT EASY which begins this album,WITCHY WOMAN and the soft-rock PEACEFUL EASY FEELING. This is followed by five more non-compilation albums on the Asylum label.

-I love an excuse to look up some Rock Trivia. The Eagles were nominated for best newcomer Grammy in 1973 but lost out to America, a band often criticized as being a bit of an Eagles Rip-off.

1 comment:

  1. Tim from way out westSeptember 22, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    Great review on what is a very underwhelming album.

    Keep em coming