Friday, 26 April 2019

Bread - On The Waters (1970)

Blue satin pillow....


Released July 1970

Bread became instantly more well-known with this, their second album, due to the huge hit "Make It With You", although this album is one that provides many different sounding tracks to that one. It is quite a rock album, in its hippy Californian warm but airy sound and vague psychedelic influences appearing here and there. It is very Crosby, Stills and Nash-influenced and laid foundations for groups like America to follow. I should imagine many who bought the album on the back of "Make It With You" may have been slightly disappointed in its hippy rock earnestness and, at times, quite heavy passages. Not me, though, I think it's great. A most underrated gem. It is, though, quite a dense,  serious album, despite its West Coast inherent sunny disposition. Personally, I prefer the group's debut album. It is Bread's equivalent of The Doors' "Waiting For The Sun", quite experimental and uncommercial in places. Of course, this is not a full-on rock record, but it is certainly not an album of slushy, acoustic ballads. Far from it.


1. Why Do You Keep Me Waiting
2. Make It With You
3. Blue Satin Pillow
4. Look What You've Done
5. I Am That I Am
6. Been Too Long On The Road
7. I Want You With Me
8. Coming Apart
9. Easy Love
10. In The Afterglow
11. Call On Me
12. The Other Side Of Life                                

"Why Do You Keep Me Waiting" is an upbeat, rocking number to begin with, with hints of Neil Diamond's early material in its vaguely Latin strummed riff. Its changes of pace and rock rhythms are redolent of Crosby, Stills and Nash. "Make It With You" is, of course, the song that really made it big for Bread and tended to make people pigeonhole them. You can't deny its laid-back, hot Californian summery sound is completely intoxicating. A classic of its type. "Blue Satin Pillow" has a big, heavy rock riff and a typically early seventies rock feel, with airs of Cat Stevens in its vocal, for me. Bearles harmonies are in there too.

"Look What You've Done" had a riff that sounded like a prototype of the later "Guitar Man" at the beginning. When it breaks out into its "rock" passages, its is truly uplifting. It almost goes a bit proggy in its organ sound. "I Am That I Am" also continues that proggy, pace-changing sound. It reminds me slightly of Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy" at times.

"Been Too Long On The Road" has that "Marrakesh Express" breezy, harmonious feel to it and features some killer electric guitar over a quirky, staccato beat. "I Want You With Me" has a haunting air to its beguiling, gentle vocal, over its gently melodic bass line. This is something approaching what The Beach Boys were trying to achieve during the same period, and sometimes coming up short. This album gets it right, in my opinion, anyway.

"Coming Apart" is a very CSN-style appealing, tuneful rocker. Like lots of the material it is very typical of its era. "Easy Love" begins with a Byrds-style jangly guitar and has a lovely vocal and drum sound. "In The Afterglow" is a very McCartney-esque song, with those Beatles drums again. "Call On Me" has Bread going a little blues rock-ish. It has hints of The Beatles' "Come Together" and is very Lennon-influenced. The album ends with the low-key, gentle "The Other Side Of Life". This is an album that deserves more than a few listens. It has hidden depths.


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