COUNTRY - Self-Titled (SR0003)
COUNTRY - (SR0003)
UK Price: £8.00
USA & Rest of World: £11.00
All prices inclusive of postage)
Originally released in 1971 this forgotten gem is ripe for rediscovery. COUNTRY were originally a duo called Fondiler & Snow. Both Michael Fondiler and Tom Snow had already played with legends. Michael had been a member of the pre-SPIRIT bands The Red Roosters and Western Union whilst Tom had been an original member of Gram Parsons THE LIKE in 1965. With the addition of Michael's brother Steve, Bobby De Simone and Ian Espinoza they became COUNTRY and produced this marvellous album which holds similarities to James Taylor, Jackson Browne & Bread.
Impressed by the band Peter Asher soon took over their leadership but despite recording another fine album their record label pulled the plug. Tom Snow stayed with Peter Asher for a solo career and later became a million selling songwriter for the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Little Feat, Bonnie Riatt, Cher... The list goes on and on.
This Remastered album includes all original tracks including 5 bonus tracks that have never previously been released. One of these gems SYLVIE includes Lowell George on slide guitar. SPIRITS and JO JO GUNNE's Mark & Matt Andes also offer guest performances. Tom Snow tells COUNTRY's story in the extensive liner notes and recalls his days with Gram Parsons.
1, Beverly Glen
2, Love Quite Like Her Kind
3, Give My Best To Everyone
4, Traveling Salesman
6, Going Away
7, Fine And Easy
8, It’s All The Same
9, Man From Alabama
10, Aragon Ballroom
12, Rock & Roll Heaven
13, Sylvie (Bonus)
Fondiler & Snow:
14, Just A Thought
15, Please Michael
16, Aragon Ballroom
17, Salt Lake City
Two great Country-rock albums from 1971—mothing relates them other than their seal of quality and associations with bigger acts. Country absolutely bombed when released on Atlantic subsidiary Clean, which is tragic as it’s an assured and subtly sequenced affair. Managed by Peter Asher—hot on he heels of his success with James Taylor—and with guest spots from Little Feat’s Lowell George and Spirit’s Mark Andes, the future looked for this promising act. It wasn’t. Combining country with Band-like rural rock and deep piano ballads, it’s a staggeringly storng set and major discovery for genre acolytes.
· Resurrection of lost 1970's country rock masterpiece—9/10
The music industry has its higher share of injustices than many other industries and listening to this album it is impossible to escape the feeling that the listening public missed out on an act that just possibly could have eclipsed the creative output and success of the Eagles and many other country rock outfits of the early 70’s.
Originally released in 1971, this record sank without a trace at the time, but has now been resurrected and released by the fledgling Slipstream Records for whom this is their second release. A lot of thought and energy has been put into the production and background notes that accompany this release with the majority of comment from one of the co-founders of the group Tom Snow, who went on to have a thoroughly successful song writing career with tracks recorded by Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt to name just a few.
So with that pedigree in mind it is of no surprise that here we have many fine tracks with on the themes of love, heartbreak and the like but all with that distinctive country rock feel of the age with traces of America, the aforementioned Eagles (albeit in their early mode) and CSNY. This was the one and only release from this five piece whose standard of musicianship and vocal harmonies throughout are commendable. There is even a guest appearance by Lowell George on slide guitar. Stand out tracks are “Fine and Easy” with less than oblique drug references, “It’s All The Same” a downbeat but touching piece with a simple string and piano accompaniment and the epic tale behind “Aragon Ballroom”. Let’s hope that Slipstream Records continue to turn the stones to find more such treasures.
I mean, come on! I know it was the seventies, but calling your country band, Country, is just taking the mick. And if it was bad in 1971 when this first came out, can you imagine how difficult it is in the days of the internet? Crazy.
This is another reissue from the good people over at the Fantastic Expedition zine whose raison d’etre is the country rock of the early seventies. So enamoured are they, that they put together Slipstream Records to reissue some obscure gems from back in the day. Now we’ve already drooled over the Country Funk album, and this one is another goodie. The band were spawned from a duo called Fondiler & Snow. Michael Fondiler and Tom Snow (for it is they) had already seen some action with Fondiler having been on the pre-Spirit bands The Red Roosters and Western Union, and Snow had been an original member of Gram Parsons The Like. They added in Michael’s brother Steve, Bobby De Simone and Ian Espinoza to become Country and set about making an absolute peach of an album.
Sadly, it was only critical acclaim that came their way, because despite the smooth beauty of songs like ‘Beverly Glen’ and ‘Give My Best To Everyone’ and the input of manager Peter Asher it wasn’t to be. Tom Snow was kept on by Peter Asher for a solo career, but for Country it was all over. The 12 track album has been augmented with a bonus track, ‘Sylive’ which features Lowell George (Little Feat) on slide guitar, and you’ll find Mark and Matt Andes (Spirit / Jo Jo Gunne) hither and thither. There are also four songs added on by Fondiler & Snow including one produced by Ahmet Ertegun (‘Aragon Ballroom’). In the liner notes, Tom Snow tells the story of Country, and more.
It may not have ended well for Country but Tom Snow ended up as a legendary songwriter, writing hits for Joe Cocker, Olivia Newton-John, Barbra Streisand, Rita Coolidge, Randy Crawford, Leo Sayer, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and many, many more. He even co-wrote ‘Let’s Hear It for the Boy’, which was performed by Deniece Williams for the film soundtrack “Footloose”. And this is where it all began.