The three expats that formed America in London in 1970 began their climb to stardom in late 1971 with the release of their eponymous debut. But it wasnâ€™t until the album was reissued with the addition of â€œA Horse With No Nameâ€ that they captured the top spots on the album and singles charts. The debut also spun off â€œI Need You,â€ and the follow-up album, Homecoming, launched â€œVentura Highwayâ€ the same year. The rest of the second albumâ€™s singles, and the third album, Hat Trick, registered successively lower on the charts, and it would take a few more years to return the band to hitsville with 1974â€™s â€œTin Manâ€ and â€œLonely People,â€ and 1975â€™s â€œSister Golden Hair.â€ The band has continued on to this day (minus Dan Peek, who left in 1977 and passed away in 2011), occasionally popping back up on the adult pop and contemporary charts.
Omnivoreâ€™s volume of demos and home recordings shows that the band was always destined for success. The magic blend of their voices was present from the beginning, and even as teenagers, they had a clear idea of their direction. Although many of these demos were successfully re-recorded for their albums, the excitement of recording together for the first time gives these initial takes their own unique feel. The earliest recordings were laid down at Chalk Hill Studios in 1970, and combines material from their debut (â€œRiversideâ€ â€œHereâ€ â€œRainy Dayâ€ â€œDonkey Jawâ€) with songs that never made it back to the studio. All are surprisingly well played and recorded, with the acoustic and electric guitars in balance and the harmony and backing vocals tightly arranged and sung.
The second set of recordings, from 1972 and 1973, were recorded at Gerry Beckleyâ€™s home studio, and include several titles that ended up on Hat Trick, songs and fragments that were never completed, and bits of studio chatter. Of interest to even casual fans will be a 1972 take of â€œVentura Highwayâ€ that preceded the hit recording, and a vocal isolation of â€œA Horse With No Nameâ€ thatâ€™s nearly a cappella. Tracks 1, 3, 6, 7, 9 and 14 have been previously released on earlier America anthologies, but the remaining ten tracks are issued here for the first time. Founding member Dewey Bunnell provides original liner notes, and period photographs by Henry Diltz grace the cover and booklet. This is a great find for the bandâ€™s fans! [Â©2018 Hyperbolium]