Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ventura Highway

One of the more underrated outfits that formed part of the ubiquitous country-rock movement of the 1970s is also one of the most unlikely, hailing from the Greater London area, with its members comprising American military brats. Giving themselves the generic band name America, the unassuming-looking trio studiously worked their way through the London pub circuit, eventually recording their first album and scoring an improbable worldwide hit with the comically surreal 'A Horse With No Name'. More chart success followed with subsequent singles, with one of the more noteworthy ones being the bittersweet nostalgia trip 'Ventura Highway', an elliptical narrative of the protagonist's teenage years. Check out a laid-back, in-studio performance of the song, which aptly highlights Gerry Beckley, Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek's adroit finger-picking acumen and idyllic harmony vocals.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Outbreak of Love

The now-sadly defunct Midnight Oil have always maintained an indomitable, indefatigable never-say-die spirit, in spite of the changing times. Thirty-five years after their inception in the rough-and-tumble pub-rock circuit of Sydney, Australia, the Oils--as they are more widely known--are still known as one of the premier torch-bearers of rock-with-a-conscience. Best known for incendiary standards like 'Beds are Burning', 'The Dead Heart' and 'Blue Sky Mine', the Oils are perpetually at the forefront of socio-political rock, rallying against various injustices of the day like environmental degradation, the detrimental side effects of asbestos mining, the predicaments of Australian Aborigines, and French nuclear testing in the Pacific. Check out a typically adroit live-television reading of one of the Oils' more underrated singles, the measured but still compelling 'Outbreak of Love'.