juli 29, 2015

Albert Hammond - 99 Miles From L.A. (1975)

Albert Louis Hammond OBE (born 18 May 1944) is an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who grew up in the British Mediterranean territory of Gibraltar.

“99 Miles from L.A.” doesn't have the problem of shifting tones the way its eponymous predecessor did: Hammond abandons the flirtation with Caribbean rhythms as well as the darker introspection and makes a lush, easy rolling Californian soft rock album that screams 1975 in its warm, gentle pastel tones created with strings, harmonies, fuzztones, saxophones and the mild disco rhythms that drive "Lay the Music Down."

Which isn't to say that Hammond has abandoned serious subjects, as the title "A Job Is a Home to a Homeless Man" suggests, or even the friendly hippie good vibes of "Love Isn't Love Till You Give It Away" proves he's just united it under the warm umbrella of soft rock.

This makes for a more consistent album sonically, and his writing is more consistent as well; it may not be as ambitious as "I Don't Wanna Die in an Air Disaster" but it's more successful, capturing his melodic gifts and talent for winding, folk-inspired tales. The single "99 Miles From L.A." is written by Albert Hammond and Hal David and performed by Hammond.
The song was Hammond's only number one on the Easy Listening chart as well as his most successful release on the chart.

The best-known tune here is "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," which was popularized several years later by Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson, and its blend of sweet melody and slightly sappy sentiment is typical and atypical of  “99 Miles from LA”: that sense of melodic craft is evident throughout the album, but it's the only tune here that courts commerciality quite so clearly.

The rest of the record is very good, very '70s soft rock: lush and easy, melodic and breezy, something that may not always be memorable but it always sounds good while it's playing and it's best appreciated as an artifact of its time, a record that's mid-'70s to its very core and all the more appealing because of it.

Side A
A1.  99 Miles From L.A.  (2:55)  
A2.  Down By The River (Newly Recorded Version)  (3:10)  
A3.   One Life  (2:20)  
A4. Love Isn't Love Till You Give It Away  (2:52)  
A5.  The Face Not The Image  (3:10) 

Side B
B1.  Good Old Days  (3:26)  
B2.  Lay The Music Down  (3:00)  
B3.  Rivers Are For Boats  (2:34)  
B4.  Somebody's Happiness  (3:01)  
B5.  A Job Is A Home To A Homeless Man  (2:35)  
B6.  To All The Girls I've Loved Before  (3:08)

Artist:  Albert Hammond
Title:  99 Miles From L.A.
Release:  1975
Format:  LP
Label:  Epic Records
Catalog#  EPC 80961

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