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Ambrosia - Ambrosia CD (album) cover

AMBROSIA

Ambrosia

 

Prog Related

3.89 | 88 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars I have to admit I never considered these guys to be even remotely related to progressive music, but then again I was more familiar with their later Southern California pop recordings than with this debut album. This is actually a pretty innovative album with some wide swings in tempo, luscious keyboards, and pretty remarkable drum work. Like Wishbone Ash, these guys opened with their best and kind of faded as they went along.

The opening “Nice, Nice, Very Nice” is one of the more well-known Ambrosia songs, with some great piping keyboard and acoustic guitar. It has an almost Haight-Asbury psychedelic feel to it, but with much better production. That of course comes from the fact that Alan Parsons produced them, but also because this was recorded several years after the early San Francisco hippy albums and studio techniques were already improving significantly.

The balalaikas on “Time Waits For No One” are very cool, even if they serve to clearly date this as a seventies album. David Pack’s guitar sings beautifully on this track, and although only sporadically played, it is among the best he would do with the band. This is a true trippy-hippy tune, and is just fun to listen to.

Joe Puerta’s bass is totally funky on “Holdin' On To Yesterday” and Christopher North’s keyboards and Puerta and Pack’s vocals practically defined the summer of 1975 with this huge American hit. This is a much milder and more palatable version of the Eagles Southern California sound, more soulful and with some great backing vocals. I just can’t say enough about this song, still fresh after more than thirty years.

“World Leave Me Alone” is a bit of a departure with its twangy, almost country-sounding guitar and rockabilly vocals, but the spacey transition just past the halfway mark reveal the flower-power sensibilities of the band, and once again firmly plant this album in the seventies.

On “Make Us All Aware” Pack plays some delicate and beautiful piano, setting a bucolic mood behind the melodic backing vocals and ‘give peace a chance’ lyrics. The layered keyboards in the bridge are totally spaced-out and reaffirm that these guys at least deserve to be mentioned as at least temporarily progressive for this brief moment in time.

“Lover Arrive” is sort of the ballad of the album, very slow and peaceful with vocals that at times sound very much like early Elton John, complete with melodic piano accompaniment and some great drum work. Very short but a great tune.

The last two songs on the album are much closer to bluesy early prog ala Captain Beyond or Theee Image than anything else on the album. “Mama Frog” is completely vocals-driven, with a choppy reactive piano that gives way to some very bluesy and funky guitar work atop an almost jazz-influenced drum rhythm. Top that off with some trippy keyboards and you have a song that would not have been out-of-place a half- dozen years earlier at a love-in somewhere.

And the album closes with the Allman-influenced “Drink of Water”, a good ole’ boy peacenik anthem that leaves you feeling good as it fades away. A great way to close.

This is by far the most creative and interesting studio release from a band that would lean very far to the right and into pop territory before they called it a day in the early eighties. If you have to have one Ambrosia album (and really, you do need to have one) – this is it. Four stars.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |

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