Omnivore Recordings is heading down Ventura Highway this fall with the November 17 release on CD of a new archival collection from America. Heritage: Home Recordings/Demos 1970-1973 boasts sixteen tracks from the band’s early days, ten of which are previously unreleased, from the original trio of Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell, and Dan Peek.
Heritage comprises demos, home recordings, alternate versions, and outtakes from the era of the first three America albums: 1971’s self-titled release, 1972’s Homecoming, and 1973’s Hat Trick. You’ll hear early demos recorded at London’s Chalk Farm Studios prior to America’s smash Warner Bros. debut; home recordings and previously unissued songs from Gerry Beckley’s Buzz Studios (his West Hollywood home at the time) and an early take of the top ten radio staple “Ventura Highway” from Record Plant West in Los Angeles. The previously unheard songs include “Sea of Destiny” and “Man of Pride,” while unique versions of “Riverside” and “Here,” all from America, are among the treats. A handful of tracks have been reprised from America’s long-deleted 30th anniversary Highway box set: demos of “Riverside,” “James Holladay,” “Satan” (the embryonic “Donkey Jaw”) and “Mitchum Junction.” A never-before-released a cappella version of the No. 1 hit “A Horse with No Name” is included as a special “hidden” bonus track.
This anthology of America at their most raw and intimate will make a fine companion to 2015’s Archives Vol. 1, which covered the period between 1971 and 1975. A couple of tracks from that release (the alternate mix of “Rainy Day” and demo of “Rainbow Song”) get a wider airing here, as well. Dewey Bunnell has provided his own remembrances for the liner notes.
Opening a window onto the earliest years of one of the country’s most enduring bands, Heritage: Home Recordings/Demos 1970-1973 promises to be a stellar collection for fans of America’s singular fusion of rock, pop, and folk. Look for it from Omnivore on November 17!
America, Heritage: Home Recordings/Demos 1970-1973 (Omnivore, 2017) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada Links TBD)
- Riverside (Demo – Chalk Farm Studios, 1970)
- Here (Demo – Chalk Farm Studios, 1970)*
- James Holladay (Demo – Chalk Farm Studios, 1970)
- How Long (Demo – Chalk Farm Studios, 1970)*
- Sea of Destiny (Demo – Chalk Farm Studios, 1970)*
- Rainy Day (Alternate Mix – Chalk Farm Studios, 1970)
- Satan (Donkey Jaw) (Demo – Chalk Farm Studios, 1970)
- When I Was Five (Demo – Buzz Studios, 1972)*
- Mitchum Junction (Demo – Buzz Studios, 1972)
- Goodbye (Demo – Buzz Studios, 1972)*
- Wind Wave (Demo – Buzz Studios, 1972)*
- Ventura Highway (Early Take – Record Plant West, 1972)*
- Man of Pride (Demo – Buzz Studios, 1973)*
- Rainbow Song (Demo – Buzz Studios, 1973)
- Monster (Demo – Buzz Studios, 1973)*
- A Horse with No Name (A Cappella) (Hidden Track) *
(*) denotes previously unissued track
Tracks 1, 3, 7 & 9 previously released onHighway: 30 Years of America, Rhino R2 79897, 2000
Tracks 6 & 14 previously released on Archives Vol. 1, America Records, 2015