Sunday, 28 October 2018

The Eagles - On The Border (1974)



  

Released March 1974

Recorded In London and Los Angeles

After two excellent and varied country rock/harder rock albums, The Eagles were back with a similar mix of styles showing that were never always simply the "easy-listening" laid-back country rockers they have often been perceived to be.

The Jackson Browne-esque "Already Gone" is a superb piece of of solid West Coast US rock. It is powerful, riffy, melodic and atmospheric. One of the Eagles' best tracks. "You Never Cry Like A Lover" goes from being hugely powerful to quiet and tender between its verses and chorus. It is both melodious and muscular. "Midnight Flyer" is a finger-pickin' bluegrass-ish piece of fun. It is lively, jaunty and just enjoyable. It has some excellent bass and drum interplay at the end. "My Man" is a country tribute to the recently-deceased Gram Parsons. It is a Parsons-esque, laid-back, slide guitar-driven song. It is quite lovely. "We who must remain, go on living just the same..." is a touching refrain.

The title track has that characteristic Don Henley, throaty vocal over another solidly grinding, mid-pace rock beat. It is almost funky r 'n' b in its feel. It has an intoxicating instrumental break two-thirds of the way through. "James Dean" is a corker of an Eagles rocker. Back in 1973 I remember hearing this played by Johnnie Walker on Radio 1 as a teenager. It was the very first time I had heard The Eagles. Funny how one remembers things like that.

"Ol' 55" is a classic steel guitar, harmonious "freeways, cars and trucks" ballad that The Eagles did so well. It is actually a Tom Waits cover, but it suits the group perfectly. "Is It True" is a powerful rock song, again with some great harmonies, but also some copper-bottomed chunky guitar. "Good Day In Hell" is a wonderful rocker, full of riffs and searing guitars runs and a great rock vocal. The album is ended by the classic, unforgettable country ballad "The Best Of Your Love". That track is pretty much perfection. These early Eagles albums are most enjoyable, only short, but varied, and the sound and playing is high quality. They were far more than just a "best of" group. Their albums were great too.

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