Saturday, November 15, 2014

country life

Roxy Music explored the emotional landscape with bittersweet ennui, decadent romance, and monumental style for the thrill of it all with this tantalizingly textured trek.  The band had already broken new ground with their first three albums 'Roxy Music', 'For Your Pleasure', and 'Stranded' ; but with their fourth album, 'Country Life', they expanded their sonic pallet even further.  The sessions for 'Country Life' took place at AIR Studios, London with Chris Thomas, John Punter, and Roxy Music producing.  The album features Bryan Ferry on vocals, keyboards, and harmonica;   John Gustafson on bass;  Edwin Jobson on strings, synthesiser, and keyboards;  Andrew Mackay on oboe and saxophone;  Phil Manzanera on guitar;  and Paul Thompson on drums. 

Manzanera would express at the time:  "We're only just past the sketch stage at present, the tracks are gradually being built up with overdubs until the picture emerges complete. But with Roxy, the style or the sound is always very difficult to pinpoint. I mean, I'd love to be able to tell you that there's five uptempo rockers and four laid back country tunes, but it's never that easy...With Free music, basically, you have to accept what comes up for better or for worse, and at the outset, nobody knows exactly what's going to happen. All right, we arrive at the studio with our various demos, but it's never a case of 'Oh, if it doesn't work we'll try something else.' Y'know, this is it. No alternatives, and you have to make the best use of the material that you have. And you keep sifting, putting synthesiser here, or violin here, and it's just a continual growing process, until you realise you've finished."

Ferry had been pursuing a solo career simultaneously, beginning in 1973 with 'These Foolish Things' and continuing with 'Another Time, Another Place' just as the sessions for 'Country Life' were getting underway.  He would consider:  "As long as I'm touring, there'll always be a Roxy Music.  Before the tour started I was dreading it - all that travelling, all those hotels, it's not like being at home. But corny as it may sound, once you get onstage it all becomes worthwhile...But to make up for only having an ordinary single cover we've got two girls on it instead on one...['Country Life'] is much better than the last album...but then I say that with every album. I think, though, that the playing has showed a marked improvement and we've got some interesting textural collages. 1 think too that it's a more direct album than the last."

Eric Boman shot the cover photo that features Germany models Constanze Karoli and Eveline Grunwald, who also helped with the German lyrics on "Bitter-Sweet". The scantily clad ladies caused such a stir that a different cover was issued with the back cover image of only trees.  'Country Life' went to thirty-seven in the US and three in the UK. 

"Out of the Blue"

"A Really Good Time"

Bitter-Sweet / Triptych / Casanova

'Country Life'
full album:

All songs written by Bryan Ferry except where noted.

Side one
1. "The Thrill of It All"   6:24
2. "Three and Nine" (Ferry, Andy Mackay) 4:04
3. "All I Want Is You"   2:53
4. "Out of the Blue" (Ferry, Phil Manzanera) 4:46
5. "If It Takes All Night"   3:12
Side two
1. "Bitter-Sweet" (Ferry, Mackay) 4:50
2. "Triptych"   3:09
3. "Casanova"   3:27
4. "A Really Good Time"   3:45
5. "Prairie Rose" (Ferry, Manzanera) 5:12

"Your Application's Failed" 

B-side to the singles for  All I Want Is You  and  The Thrill Of It All

"The Thrill of It All" live in Sweden

live on Musikladen

"Out of the Blue"

"All I Want Is You"

"If It Takes All Night"

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