Saturday, August 11, 2007

Great Songs From A Great Songwriter

There's a theory that all of us have a novel inside us; maybe there's also a song inside every one us just waiting to be written. While this might be true it's absolutely certain that very few have a talent for song writing like Gerry Beckley.

In 1972 on America's first album Gerry laid down a marker. ‘I Need You’ is an emotional cri de coeur that has come to the rescue of many when a relationship was going down in flames. I was once lucky enough to see Gerry sing ‘All My Life’ to several thousand people in Manila with just his guitar and the backing vocals of almost everyone in the audience - it made me cry.

Last year Gerry released, Horizontal Fall, his first solo album since 1995’s Van Go Gan. On first listening makes you think you’ve owned it forever. Gerry confirms not just his ability to write brilliant songs but also the gift of being able to deliver them with great panache. ‘Fireman’, is a song that Brian Wilson could have written circa Smile, ‘Love and Leaving’ and ‘3 a.m.’ sound cinematic. For me the album’s crowning glory is ‘Arms’ a song full of latent passion; it’s the yin to the yang of ‘I Need You.’

In all there are fourteen songs that prove that some writers, like fine wine, just improve with age and in Gerry Beckley’s case he gives us a little extra something – love for his art.

You can buy it HERE, at Amazon US. It appears not to be available in the UK.


r morris said...

r morris is back from denver and wyoming. I loved the group America back in the seventies, and still do. I will have to get Mr. Beckley's latest. Beckley was a great songwriter.
One question, Richard, since you know these guys---Why do so many of America's lyrics make absolutely no sense?
Examples---Sister Golden Hair Surprise, Horse with No Name, etc?

Richard Havers said...

America lyrics not making sense? What a shocking claim :)

I've always been a subscriber to the theory that if rock and pop lyrics make too much sense then there's something sadly wrong. My parents would always complain about being unable to hear the lyrics - surely that's the point!

Compared to some Dewey Bunnel’s lyrics are shear poetry.

A seasoned witch could call you from the depths of your disgrace,
And rearrange your liver to the solid mental grace,
And achieve it all with music that came quickly from afar,
Then taste the fruit of man recorded losing all against the hour.
And assessing points to nowhere, leading ev'ry single one.
A dewdrop can exalt us like the music of the sun,
And take away the plain in which we move,
And choose the course you're running

From Yes’ Close to the Edge…I rest my case!

r morris said...