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AMBROSIA

Ambrosia

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lucas
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Mastered by Alan Parsons (the guy who produced Pink Floyd's 'Dark side of the moon'), Ambrosia's first record is one of the finest symphonic prog rock albums ever released. In fact, it features fabulous vocal harmonies, punchy and odd-metered drumming, fantastic keyboard and guitar playing. The music could be seen as a cross between Eagles and Yes. There are also some surprises in their music : balalaikas on 'Time waits for no one' played by a real balalaika ensemble, an antique Thai-gong, pipe-organ on 'Drink of water' and a reading from Lewis Carroll's 'Jabberwocky' on 'Mama frog'. Although mainly song based, Ambrosia managed to produce an album that should appeal to prog lovers as the vocals harmonies are not less impressive than those of classic prog bands, and the music features many variations in the rhythm section. Recommended to fans of symphonic prog !

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Send comments to lucas (BETA) | Report this review (#28241)
Posted Sunday, February 29, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars All those wonderfull vocals ....on the first AMBROSIA.....its like they invented beautiful vocals....never have i heard such fabulous vocals!! This was my first American prog record!!And i have to say i love it!! its like an American cabaret with wonderfull music....with plenty guitars!! Did i mention wonderful voices!! Stories a plenty!! OOHHHhh What a wonderfull group Ambrosia is!!!The range of their styles and the themes constantly changing. You need to hear this AMBROSIA!! An American group in prog Well.......in pop..in rock....they manage every style you care to mention. Hey this is by far my favorite American band Ohhh and the vocals, did i remember to mention them?? A MUST BUY :A M B R O S I A !!!

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Send comments to Tonny Larz (BETA) | Report this review (#28242)
Posted Wednesday, March 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This band shows that there is world class progressive rock made in America. Four young and talented musicians and songwriters made this album with a heavy FM feel yet very progressive. It stands far from the likes of Genesis or ELP, being truly original American progressive rock. There are some hints of Todd Rundgren and Manfred Mann's Earth Band but the songwriting shows to be far much adventurous. Highly recommended for prog- heads with sensibility for classic FM and arena rock.

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Send comments to Prosciutto (BETA) | Report this review (#28243)
Posted Saturday, December 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars I almost had a heart attack when I found Ambrosia in our beloved Archives. I could not believe it! How could such a tedious soft-rock or FM rock band be included here? So I had to check out this band from closer because all I knew from them was one or two hits from the late 70's. Was it possible I missed out on something? I went to the library and rented out their first three albums (that's all they had) and came back home to throw an ear on it.

Well the third album is exactly what I had expected from them (tedious US FM rock) but the debut is probably the reason why Ambrosia is included here. The least one can say is that Ambrosia sounds like you've already heard this before but cannot quite place it outside the evident Steely Dan sound. If you can imagine S D with a lesser jazzy sound and a more symphonic sound, you will have a good idea of the sound. A lot of fuss is made of the Mama Frog track that incorporates some apparently well-known story and poetry, but I cannot get that excited about it. The following track Drink of Water is most boring but most of the tracks are well done and well produced (we are with Alan Parsons here) and are deliciously arranged but very commercial-sounding but never really driving up the wall in a frenzy.

I dare say my fellow reviewers are much more enthusiastic than I about this album, but there is no way this is worth five stars. By all means this debut is not bad especially in terms of early US prog, but fellow progheads, make sure you get an ear on the siliceous slice of music before investing your hard earned money. Give it another halfstar at most.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#28244)
Posted Thursday, April 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
jcleary@msn.c
5 stars One of the greatest debut albums of all time. This album is brilliant from start to finish. The song writing, musicianship, vocals, recording, and production are amazing. Alan Parsons is in top form mixing this one. This is America's answer to the great English Prog bands Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, and ELP. This is a must have cd to be sure. The songs Nice Nice Very Nice, Time Waits For No One, Make Us All Aware, Mama Frog, and Drink Of Water are Prog Rock masterpieces! The song Drink Of Water is awesome and has the best recording and use of a pipe organ ever in Prog Rock. Christopher North pulls ligtning from the sky during his hammond solos! Listen to the cd through high quality headphones and you will be blown away. Cheers, jc

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#28245)
Posted Tuesday, April 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
jcleary@uk.ma
5 stars Absolutely brilliant debut album by Ambrosia. This album is one of the greatest debuts of all time. It is fantastic from start to finish. The album is an incredible blend of Prog, Rock, and Pop. The song writing, musicianship, recording, and production are just brilliant! The album was nominated for a grammy as best recorded album of 1975. Alan Parsons does a fabulous job mixing this one. The songs Nice Nice Very Nice, Time Waits For NO One, Make Us All Aware, Mama Frog, and Drink Of Water are Prog Rock Classics. Drink Of Water is one of my all time favorite Prog Rock songs and has the best use of a pipe organ ever in Prog Rock. Christopher North pulls lightning from the sky during his hammond solos. This is a must have CD! It is truly America's answer to the great english Prog Rock bands Yes, King Crimson, ELP, and Genesis. Cheers, jc

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#28246)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
phepple@uk.ma
5 stars The first Ambrosia album is a true masterpiece. It is brilliant from the opening track Nice Nice Very Nice, to the awesome ending track Drink Of Water. Alan Parsons does his best work mixing this album. This is one of the best American Prog Albums and holds it's own along side the best of Yes, Genesis, and ELP. Christopher North is a phenomenal keyboardist! The drummer Burleigh Drummond is in a class by himself. This is a must have CD for all Prog lovers.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#28247)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
tkarr@msn.com
5 stars This self titled debut release by Ambrosia is on my list of the ten best progressive rock albums by American bands in the 1970s. This work features all of the essential elements of the genre and also boasts an impressive grasp of pop music sensibilities, and more memorable themes and catchy hooks than many artists would produce over the course of a long career. The group displays a mature sound, and awesome instrumental skills that rival those of any of the best progressive rock bands of the day. Whether exploring territory similar to that of Yes, or the Italian sound, ala Banco, displaying their home-grown influences, including vocal kinship with The Beach Boys, and Todd Rundgren, instrumental resemblances to Chicago and Blood, Sweat And Tears, or charting out some of the stylistic elements that they would later hone into the MOR trademark sound of their later, decidedly un-progressive career, they always achieved the highest standards of excellence.

This release was also notable in its production values. It was engineered by Alan Parsons, famed for his work with The Beatles, and his own later work in the Alan Parsons Project. Parsons brought his considerable skills and studio experience to bear on this project, and the album benefited from some of the best pre-production and planning that any fledgling act could ever hope to receive. Some stellar sidemen/women contributed to the outstanding sound of this effort, including Zappa alumni Ruth and Ian Underwood on marimba and saxophone, respectively. A Russian balalaika ensemble enhances the track "Time Waits For No One", and well conceived details reveal themselves in all of the eight tracks included here

This CD begins with a Yes influenced number, "Nice, Nice, Very Nice." It will be immediately clear that these musicians are extraordinarily talented and that the songwriting will be far above what is expected on a debut from an unknown (at that time) group of musicians and writers. Christopher North's keyboards are sophisticated, and show the kind of stately bearing and understated elegance of Rick Wakeman's best work. Burliegh Drummonds drumming is comparable to, and is seen as, a mixture of Bill Bruford's tight jazzy style with some of the flair and power of Santana/Automatic Man drummer Michael Shrieve. The quartet was rounded out with the ubiquitous Joe Puerta and David Pack on bass and guitar. These two probably appear on more albums than Wakeman and half the studio pros of L.A. combined All the band members sang, and their vocal prowess was unrivaled within this genre. Their harmonies were the equal of those of the Beach Boys and the best work of Todd Rundgren's Utopia. "Nice, Nice, Very Nice" had lyrics fron novelist Kurt Vonnegut, and a very catchy song structure that provides all the expected twists and turns of progressive rock, and the hooks and layers of vocals that fans of finely crafted pop music would love.

"Time Waits For No One" begins with tightly played acoustic guitar and piano, and features some nice additional touches like a ringing alarm clock, and tubular bells accenting the chorus. The chorus also lays out the bands powerful vocal style, with overlapping layers of harmony vocal lines. Acoustic instruments punch out some nice jazz inspired lines, and the bridge uses some balalaika, oddly used to cast a Latin tinge to the section, along with punchy hand claps, creating the sounds of a fiesta in this brief song within a song.

The third track "Holdin' On To Yesterday," shows the direction the group would later take. This was Ambrosia's first single, and it received considerable airplay in the mid seventies. This song is a textbook of MOR essentials, and it can be compared to the kind of work that Paul Carrack would bring to the Squeeze with "Tempted" several years later, or the Crowded House favourite "Don't Dream It's Over", which would appear five years later. The track has some very satisfying B-3 work, and a smooth, yet gutsy guitar solo that will remind the listener of the kind of guitar work that graced Joni Mitchell's great Court And Spark album.

The fourth track, "World Leave Me Alone," is another pop-rock gem. This number features crisp acoustic guitar rhythms and gritty electric leads in the style of George Harrison, and a glittering, spacey, Rundgren-esque bridge which leads to the finale, a Beatles inspired ascending progression with Lennon/McCartney/ Harrison style, soaring vocal harmonies.

This, and the preceding track are by no means symphonic progressive rock, but they are welcome nonetheless. These fine examples of pop songcraft are by no means out of place on a release such as this.

The next track is a beautiful work "Make Us All Aware." It has a very classy, Wakeman like piano track, lovely vocals, and a Celtic inspired harpsichord bridge that leads to a brief Moog break, beds of vocal harmonies, and a gentle conclusion to it all. This tune has some Yes-like qualities, and is one of the high points of this CD.

The following track, "Lover Arrive," is a peaceful piano piece with layers of symphonic backing. This calls to mind the romantic melodies of Brahms, mixed with the mid 70s sounds of Elton John.

Moving on to cut number seven, we have "Mama Frog," an Italian sounding composition. This may remind the listener of some of the more straight forward and catchy music of Banco. It combines jazz/rock keyboards with some pulsing drum work, and provides an opportunity for North to show off some Nocenzi style, burbling Moog, and tasty B-3 work. The center section of this tune features a spoken verse from Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky, which may strike some listeners as a bit corny, but in my opinion it comes off as ear candy, quite well done, and is, like all the additional sound effects, a wonderful treat. The end of this tune displays an impressive, syncopated drum and keyboards section with stop-start riffs, sounding almost like a passage from Il Balleto Di Bronzo's Ys. This number displays a very, very tight band with chops to spare.

The album's finale is the overpowering "Drink Of Water." Featuring a huge sounding cathedral organ, soulful Hendrix inspired rhythm guitar work, and pristine vocal harmonies, this song is a powerful end to a great and inspired release. This song sounds like Yes meets Beach Boys meets Blood, Sweat And Tears. The organ work will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, and the lovely lyrics may bring a tear to your eye as well.

This is simply an outstanding effort from a band that would later make a name for themselves writing and recording easy listening hits such as "Biggest Part Of Me," "You're The Only Woman," "Life Beyond LA," and of course, "How Much I Feel."

When there is such a brilliant work such as this self-titled debut waiting to be re-discovered, there can be no reason to subject yourself to that later, radio friendly repertoire.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#28248)
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
melissa@msn.c
5 stars Ambrosia is one of the most talented and creative bands to emerge from the post-psychedelic Los Angeles music scene of the early 70s. It is unfortunate that they are under-rated and virtually unknown in progressive rock circles. Hopefully, you will be compelled to give them an honest try after reading this review.

Don't be fooled by their Top 40 reputation in the early 80s. Ambrosia's roots are firmly planted in peculiar soil, as their first album, the self-titled Ambrosia, clearly reveals. Released in the early winter of 1975, it was so incredibly engineered, mixed, and produced (with the assistance of Alan Parsons) that it was worthy of a Grammy nomination for Best Engineered Album! You will understand why after your first listen.

The first track, "Nice, Nice, Very Nice", was influenced by author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., who had become good friends with the band. While the lyrics are amusing, it is the quirky music that will draw you in. A variety of odd instruments are used here, including an attempt at the bassoon by drummer Burleigh Drummond, but the next song has even more diversity. "Time Waits for No One", inspired by T.S. Eliot and dedicated to renowned composer Leonard Bernstein, includes Javanese gongs and a Russian balalaika ensemble!

The following tune, "Holdin' On to Yesterday", might seem like a mushy love song to many new listeners, but once again, it is the quality of the music that sends you off into another plane of existence. Its haunting melody, soaring vocal harmonies, and beautiful violin will capture your soul. It was this song, a big hit on the radio, that first made me notice the band. I bought the LP because of it, and Ambrosia instantly became one of my favorite groups.

"World Leave Me Alone" is a feisty rocker that displays the amazing skill of guitarist David Pack. He is a gifted musician as well as a singer/songwriter, yet his talent on the strings has been unjustly overlooked. This song is followed by the dreamy, introspective "Make Us All Aware", which includes contemplative lyrics and a lively interlude complete with harpsichord. The wistful mood carries through to the sensual, sultry "Lover Arrive", a song that is sure to stir more than just your soul.

The next track is the highlight of the entire album! "Mama Frog" is a fantastic, mind-blowing journey that excites all the senses! Both the lyrics and the music reveal the creative genius that is Ambrosia. With a reference to Lewis Carroll, this song inspired me to read more classic literature at a young age (I was 13 when this album was released), and spurred my love for reading in general. I am an English Major because of this song! I also named my fan website after it.

The fun-house ride soon comes to an end, but you will not be disappointed in its follow-up. "Drink of Water" is an amazing song! If the music doesn't give you chills, the lyrics certainly will. It's a breathtaking ballad that showcases the unbelievable vocal talent of bass player Joe Puerta, whose voice is just as golden as Pack's, if not more so. The song includes a pipe organ skillfully played by keyboardist Christopher North. I truly believe he belongs on the same level as Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, and Dennis DeYoung. His energy level is dazzling!

Thus ends the first album by an exceptional group of young men. Inspired by English bands such as Yes and Traffic, Ambrosia added their own spin and originality and emerged as a front runner on the American prog scene. I urge fans of all musical genres to listen just once to this incredible album. It's a beautiful thing!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#28249)
Posted Thursday, April 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
loserboy
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Here is a rock that I certainly left unturned until recently and thanks to my fellow music loving pal Jeff Ferguson for pointing this album in my direction. AMBROSIA's debut album is a wonderful mix of progressive and 'clever' pop genres with some fantastic vocal harmonies and instrumentation. Now I know what you might be thinking and clutching the cheesier side of their later 70's pop hits but let me tell you on this debut album their music is not bland or ordinary. The standout feature for me on this album is their wonderful vocal harmonies, guitar and keyboard work. Fans of "Star Castle" will definitely need to get this album. The band was Joe Puerta (bass guitar & lead vocals), David Pack (guitars, vocals), Christopher North (keyboards & vocals), Burleigh Drummond (percussion, bassoon & vocals). A little known fact is AMBROSIA's close connection with Alan PARSONS with him not only engineering this album for AMBROSIA (producing the second), but all four members of AMBROSIA played on the first ALAN PARSONS PROJECT masterpiece "Tales of Mystery and Imagination of Edgar Alan Poe" (which was recorded soon after AMBROSIA's first album). Interesting trivia note also that David Pack appears on the 1993 ALAN PARSONS PROJECT album "Try Anything Once" co-writing, playing and providing vocals on a couple of tracks. Their music on this album is rich and deep in thought and definitely deserves to be included in the journals of "Progressive Rock".

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Send comments to loserboy (BETA) | Report this review (#52859)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
5 stars I may not add anything crucial, but I'm only the tenth to write about this very entertaining album of poppy prog. If I should describe Amrosia's music in one sentence: Alan Parsons Project with more feeling, groove, action and progness. The APP connotation comes naturally due to David Pack (voc,g) who has a typical tight APP voice, plus Parsons engineering this album. But it's certainly the songwriting gift of Ambrosia guys themselves that makes this a wonderful listening experience. It would make a good quiz question: which prog album has literary sources in Kurt Vonnegut and Lewis Carroll? Actually I thought 'Nice, Nice, Very Nice' lyrics ARE by Vonnegut, not only influenced by him. And 'Mama Frog' includes the reading of the famous Jamberwocky poem. Both these authors are sort of kindred spirits of Ambrosia.

There are no weak tracks. 'Holdin' On To Yesterday' is a good example of mindblowing grooviness, the kind that you may get tired of but never get bored with; 'Lover Arrive' is the soft ballad of the album, nothing wrong with it. 'Drink Of Water' is a majestic closing number. (4,5 stars; full rate could be a little exaggerating but no clear reasons not to round it upwards. This debut deserves more attention!)

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#53477)
Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars One thinks of Ambrosia as a top 40 pop band, in some cases this is true. Their first album is anything but. To appriciate ambrosia you must listen to their first album. Why they changed their format is a mystery to me. Back to the first album, they took jazz, classical and rock and found a happy medium that left most prog fans not knowing what to think. The album is a must have for any prog rock fan. Give it a chance, it will win you over on it's own merrits. All I can say is please listen, and you will enjoy !!!

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Send comments to titfortat03 (BETA) | Report this review (#68677)
Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2006 | Review Permalink
eporter@msn.c
5 stars Stop! Before the strains of "That's How Much I Feel" or "You're the Only Women" go rushing through your head, listen without predjudice and you will hear a terrific set of songs with a strong melodic base, great vocals, superb musicianship and production. In reading about this band in the liner notes, the formidable skills of Alan Parsons were brought in and got the record nominated for a Grammy in the engineering category.

Fans of symphonic progressive music should really take to this one. "Nice, Nice, Very Nice" is a collaboration, with writer Kurt Vonnegut Jr. penning some of the lyrics. A Yes-like quality permeates through this track musically and vocally, with a catchy hook-laden chorus while Hammond organ swirls fill the air. There are a number of musical interludes, snippets of acoustic guitar, keyboard fills, and wonderful vocal interplay. "Time Waits For No One" with its tricky acoustic guitar intro, adds a number of sound effects, and the multi-tracked musical overdubs make this one a suitable ear candy delight. Though the band is vocally oriented, each track displays their musical talents as well. "Holding On To Yesterday" is a mid-tempo groove, and with my amazing power of recall I quickly remembered hearing this one back in my younger days. I love the use of the Hammond to create little accents in various sections of the song. Much of this is firmly rooted in FM rock as much as progressive, but it is all done so well.

"Mama Frog" has an interesting section that includes a narration that I find pretty cool but others may find it a bit cheesy and dated these days. The music features a lot of keyboard playing, really upbeat, and the wacky Hammond section that follows the narration is excellent before returning to the main theme. "Make Us All Aware" has an enjoyable classically influenced piano intro; a harpsichord mid-section, with licks galore running through the track by synths, violins, horns etc. The massive pipe organ that runs through "Drink of Water is really majestic sounding.

Ultimately, you get a package full of great vocals and melodies, with an interesting mix of music. I was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed this, and if you drive by someone singing at the top of their lungs in the car to Ambrosia, that would be me.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#69468)
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I heard that the album was good and i wasnt actually excited about it; cause i thought it will have some kind of 70's guitar wank fest , but no..this is exactly what you get when you have Kansas meets ELP on popish mood.

For those who appreciate Kansas and Elp or either one of them should get this album, you wont be disappointed cause its very well elaborated, i wont say its a masterpiece cause it takes a bit more of originality to get there but its definetely a great album, worth buying for and playing it in any ocassion you want that 70's rock sound on good tasted lyrics.

Stay Classy

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Send comments to OvergroundMusic (BETA) | Report this review (#81296)
Posted Friday, June 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
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

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#96280)
Posted Monday, October 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sagichim
COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Melody school...

Ambrosia's debut is one of the best prog related albums! Although every one of the members is a great player no one is trying to show off and the music is not about that!! it's all about the great song writing. And ambrosia definitely has that, when it comes to writing melodies they are gifted, joe puerta's vocals are outstanding too. Another thing is of course the sound, alan parsons is a master, the final mix sound so good and so right, this is one of the top five sounding albums in the 70's IMO.

The music is not heavy, it's on the light side of prog, the songs are not simple even if they could be played on the radio, you always get the feeling that it is all proffesional it is excuted very good. Prog lovers will find a lot here to their liking despite the AOR atmosphere, what's wrong with some beautiful friendly like melodies anyway?? The music is very rich too thanks to the great production including some violins sometimes. The more progressive songs here are located at the end of the album "mama frog" and "drink of water" , definitely the best cuts here. "mama frog" has a lot of changes and great time signatures and some freaky part in the middle totally awsome!! "drink of water" has one of the finest melodies ever written by anybody...yes yes, everything about this song is perfect, guitar and of course the keys great energies great sound again, this is probably the best ambrosia song ever.

For the one's who love some great singing, beautiful melodies you can not go wrong with this. Beautiful stuff great talented band. 4 stars on a prog related scale.

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Send comments to Sagichim (BETA) | Report this review (#108137)
Posted Saturday, January 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars When this album came out in 1975, I was, coincidentally, just reading Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" for the first time. I had been wondering just how the Bokononist hymn from the second page of that novel would sound if it were actually sung. I just couldn't imagine any appropriate music for it. Then one night on the radio, I heard these lines, "Oh, a sleeping drunkard/Up in Central Park..." There it was, and it actually sounded great! The last line of the chorus was changed (deleting the word "different") to make it scan better, and a new verse had been added. I had to buy the album to find out what else this band was capable of.

In addition to "Nice, Nice, Very Nice", I was pleased with "Time Waits For No One", "Make Us All Aware", "Lover Arrive" (a soft ballad but with some nice artful backing orchestration and piano), and the wild fantasy of "Mama Frog". "Holdin' On To Yesterday" is another ballad, pleasant but a little more pop-oriented. "World Leave Me Alone" is more standard rock, OK but not compelling. The album closes with "Drink Of Water", a philosophy-of-life number that was to be echoed in the next album's "We Need You Too", but these closing numbers are the weakest points of these two albums.

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Send comments to rsmoore (BETA) | Report this review (#110369)
Posted Friday, February 02, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A fun diversion into a classy '70's rock sound played with heart and soul, "Ambrosia" delivers a nice (very nice) collection of songs and melodies that straddle the fence between FM anthems and the margins of progressive music.

Sharing only a little in common with the prog-giants of the day, Ambrosia still manages to bring a lot of artistic flair to the table with this release, featuring some complex melodies, skilled playing and the occasionally avant-garde moment for good measure. Most of all though, they play with infectious enthusiasm and beautiful vocal harmony-- something that most of the prog-greats never even attempted.

The songs themselves begin accessible with the radio classics "Nice", "Time Waits for No One", and the beautiful and bluesy "Holdin' On To Yesterday." At the half-way point, however, the band begins to experiment with the more complex and experimental, which despite their lack of epic scope or monstrous instrumental moments are largely successful and thoroughly enjoyable.

A fun purchase for anyone who digs classic '70's rock, but also for the jaded prog-snob looking for a smart sing-a-long to put next to their Fripp.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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Send comments to Prog Leviathan (BETA) | Report this review (#121921)
Posted Sunday, May 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Neo Prog Team
4 stars 3.5 stars actually...

Formed in 1970 in Los Angeles,California of US,AMBROSIA,though not regarded as a 100% progressive rock band,created a highly-acclaimed album in 1975 within the progressive rock circles.Using a number of different instruments apart from the rock instrumentation,like piano,violins and mandolin,and based on their superb vocal lines,AMBROSIA deliver in their debut album a fantastic journey in the world of progressive/art rock.The band blended a lot of different styles,ranging from ballad-like tracks to complicated symphonic arrangements,drawing influences from southern and boogie rock like THE ALLMAN BROTHERS,KANSAS or THE EAGLES and prog rock giants like YES,KING CRIMSON and GENTLE GIANT.Deep and intense emotions are not hard to emerge listening to this album and I strongly recommend AMBROSIA's debut to all fans of multi-influenced inventive music!

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Send comments to apps79 (BETA) | Report this review (#165070)
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ambrosia´s debut album is a very pleasant rock album with slight progressive tendencies. It´s a bit too commercial for my tastes but it´s still a great album. Had I been into this style of music I would have rated Ambrosia one more star but that last star is reserved for the acts that I personally enjoy and not for the albums that are above average but not really to my liking.

The music on Ambrosia is very commercial with memorable choruses and hooks while there are some definite progressive tendencies in some of the instrumental interplays. Some of the songs reminds me a bit of the way Kansas sounds when they are most commercial. There are some songs that sounds more proggy than others though. Good examples would be Nice, Nice, Very Nice, Make Us All Aware ( note the melody line which sounds like one of the melody lines in the epic The Odyssey from Symphony X) and Mama Frog which has a jazz/ fusion rythm. The hit song Holdin' On To Yesterday is the song I think reminds me the most of Kansas, but it´s actually allright even though it´s very commercial.

The musicianship is really good on this album and I´m quite impressed with Ambrosia as musicians and composers.

The production is excellent. I really enjoy the soft seventies rythm section and the synth sounds used in some of the songs.

Allthough this is not my favorite style in rock I have to recognize quality when I hear it and Ambrosia are certainly a quality band. Fans of pop with prog tendencies like 10cc, Supertramp, Queen, Kansas, Toto, Boston could enjoy this. I know I did to a certain degree. 3 stars is deserved in this case.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#169540)
Posted Friday, May 02, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I just had to put in my two cents worth on what I consider one of my all time favorite albums. Unlike most people, I had this album long before Ambrosia went commercial. I loved this album when I first got it and I still do. Because of Ambrosia's commercial success with top 40 radio, this album has been forgotten, which is very unfortunate. This album should be essential. It was a forerunner to Dark Side of the Moon in that it was produced by Alan Parson who would go on to produce DSotM. It is too bad that Ambrosia didn't follow the progressive path because they would have been one of the best if they had continued making music growing off of this album. The album opens with Nice, Nice Very Nice and Time Waits for No One, both of which have their share of tempo and style changes, but mostly upbeat. And the lyrics are great too. The next track is Holdin' on to Yesterday which I remember as having some radio airplay, but the radio back then seemed to play an edited version that leaves out the beautiful violin part which is on the album. World Leave Me Alone has some great lyrics and phrasing and Make Us All Aware is one of the louder songs of the album with some nice surprises in the instrumental section of the song. Lover Arrive is a very beautiful ballad which is just progressive enough to not be commercial. Mama Frog is amazing with a very cool reading of "Jabberwocky" in the middle. Last of all is the biggest highlight of the album...Drink of Water... which boasts an amazing range of dynamics in the interplay of the guitars, the amazing organ solo and the varying louds and softs of the vocals. Amazing song. Yes, this is an essential album that has sadly been ignored because of the path that Ambrosia took afterwards. But if you can find it, you should give it a chance.

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Send comments to TCat (BETA) | Report this review (#265969)
Posted Saturday, February 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the tragedies of Prog. Why could this not have been continued through subsequent releases? It is a great commericial/rock/prog album the same way Alan Parsons Project was. Not pure Prog but with prog tendancies, great harmonies and musicians, and good tunes. There are no soft spots on this album and the high point for me is the rockin' "Nice Nice Very Nice" (thank you Kurt Vonnegut!). After first finding this album and enjoying it, I looked up their second release and was VERY disappointed. This was their one and only bite at Prog, with the rest of their career making bland pop (and probably lots of money!). It's a shame because I think this could have been an interesting band with more leanings in the experimental realm like was explored some on this first release. 4 stars.

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Send comments to mohaveman (BETA) | Report this review (#281673)
Posted Wednesday, May 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of those bands I long dismissed. I just thought of them as a soft rock band and that's it. Doesn't help that their big hit was "How Much I Feel". Didn't quite realize they started off playing art rock, as this 1975 debut, released on 20th Century Fox Records (they moved to Warner Bros. in 1978 and had their first two albums reissued there, unfortunately the Warner reissue of Somewhere I've Never Travelled missed the gimmick cover of the original) plainly shows. I found an LP copy of their 1975 debut for next to nothing at a local record store, feeling like I have nothing to lose, and I was rather surprised. Nice, sophisticated use of vocal arrangements, as if these guys listened to Gentle Giant (not to mention Yes, and perhaps Queen), but their music, for the most part, is rather accessible (obviously, compared to say, Gentle Giant).. Some of the cuts features a Chamberlin (an American predecessor to the Mellotron which works in a similar way). With help from Alan Parsons as an engineer, I am not one big surprised of the high quality production. In fact Ambrosia did lend a hand on the Project's own Tales of Mystery & Imagination.

"Nice, Nice, Very Nice" is a rather nice, '70s piece set to a Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. poem. Those flutes you hear come from a Chamberlin. "Time Waits For No One" is a great example of those sophisticated vocal arrangements I was telling you about. "Holdin' On to Yesterday" is a rather straightforward soft rock song, and unsurprisingly gave them their first hit. I really can live without "World Leave Me Alone". It tries to rock, but many of those lyrics really make me cringe. "Lover Arrive" is a gentle ballad, but I really get a kick off "Mama Frog". This is probably the most full-on prog, that, and the next piece, "Drink of Water". The former also features some synth droning and a quote from Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky. "Drink of Water" starts off a bit like a Styx song sung by Tommy Shaw (the vocals even sounds a bit like him), but I really dig the vocal harmonies (almost Yes-like), but I really like how the piece gets more progressive.

I like it when I find albums like this and be rather surprised. I understand that they become more of an AOR act by the time of Life Beyond L.A. (which features "How Much I Feel"), so I'm glad early on they had so much to offer as this 1975 debut demonstrates.

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Send comments to Progfan97402 (BETA) | Report this review (#286894)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I'm afraid that I won't share the ratings of my fellow reviewers. This debut album is an average rock album for sure. But I can't find any great song in here.

Production is top notch, musicianship is excellent but this type of music has never been my cup of tea. Some sort of US basic rock vaguely (?) leaning on prog (even if this feature is quite alien in my opinion). There is no way that I can compare this band with "Kansas" like some of my colleagues.

The vocal department is excellent; and to some extent the example must have been "Crosby, Stills & Nash". My fave out here which features this element is "Time Waits for No One". But the next and syrupy "Holdin' on to Yesterday" holds all the characteristics of American music which I am not found of.

A bit more a rocking atmosphere for "World Leave me Alone" might sound attractive, but frankly this is just average AOR to my ears. Press next. In terms of relation to prog, I must admit that "Make us all Aware" is acceptable. But it is the only one track that can share this view.

US rock music. If you like this, fair enough! I am only remote to this even if the closing number "Drink of Water" is not too bad. There are great keys and as I have mentioned already, excellent vocals.

Two stars for the whole as far as I am concerned.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#307279)
Posted Friday, October 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although this review should just be on this self-titled album of the American band AMBROSIA (1975), I need saying that in my opinion the band could have stopped in this excellent work, therefore I already advance that I think you won't find anything similar to this preciousness in Ambrosia's discography Talking about the album , it is a work where the band walks with "elegance" among several styles of the prog rock (Symphonic, Psych, Hard, Folk, Jazz & Blues), what does with that the disk was able even being classified as crossover-prog or ecletic-prog. The best moments of the disk are in Track 1 "Nice, Nice, Very Nice", Track 2 "Time Waits For no One ", Track 5. "Make Us All Aware" and Track 7 "Mama Frog." My rate is 4 stars!!!

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Send comments to maryes (BETA) | Report this review (#357364)
Posted Sunday, December 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars One of those albums that I probably would not have really given too much thought about getting around to hearing, but getting a big whiff of ''Nice, Nice, Very Nice'' convinced me too much that Ambrosia's debut was worth grabbing. I was hoping for a prog-related surprise much like FM's debut or Wishbone Ash's ARGUS album. My response to AMBROSIA is unfortunately, quite different.

Ambrosia comes off on this album as a slick pop-jazz outfit that tries to channel prog rock as one of its influences. Some of the tracks have an AOR quality to them that isn't quite a stink, but it's that feeling of muggy air on your body (makes you drowsy). Comparisons with the debut of Journey don't sound too farfetched. There's a market for this kind of music, but it would work with me if it didn't sound so mediocre.

I feel that tracks like ''World Leave Me Alone'' and ''Time Waits For No One'' sound like Spirit suffering a case of writer's cramp. Most of the album as a whole is off-putting to me as the songs sound like they just exist and don't really do anything. ''Drink of Water'' and ''Holdin' On To Yesterday'' sound tailor made for FM radio without much progging about; they're fine for what they are otherwise. In contrast, ''Mama Frog'' has potential with the jaunty electric keyboard, odd figured opening number channeling Steely Dan. However, a recitation of poetry right in the middle of the song spoils the plot for me. Sure, I understand that prog rock has to have some pretentiousness to it, but this really takes the cake.

Overall, AMBROSIA failed to live up to the hype that is the opening number. Even ''Nice, Nice, Very Nice'' with its whimsical attitude has some of the most asinine vocals I've ever heard, and it lasts about a minute longer than it should. Could have been a nice complement to the debut Journey album, but it has too many, "Why is this here?" moments. Judging by the overall rating, there's a vast base of progheads that will eat this up, but AMBROSIA is simply too plastic and in some cases, laughable for me to seriously give praise to.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#480757)
Posted Tuesday, July 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars American outfit Ambrosia - David Pack(vocals, guitar, keyboards), Joe Puerta(bass, vocals), Christopher North(keyboards, vocals) and Burleigh Drummond(drums) - were a decent enough act who straddled the divide between slick pop and progressive rock with playful abandon yet somehow never really managed to create a truly memorable sound of their own. Existing for seven years and five studio albums, and helped along the way by engineer-and-producer Alan Parsons(yes, that one), Ambrosia's first, self-titled album would prove to be one all other subsequent releases were compared against. Released in 1977 - too late for prog yet also, ironically, a bit too quickly for the burgeoning pop-rock movement spearheaded by the likes of Foreigner, Journey, Boston etc - 'Ambrosia' is an enjoyable slice of lightweight prog featuring impressive interplay and snappy lyrics, yet no real killer tunes. Opening gambit 'Nice, Nice, Very Nice' showcases the group's fluffy style, with stringy guitars, tasteful keyboards and deceptively-complex harmonies showcasing the Ambrosia dynamic, whilst both 'World Leave Me Alone' and 'Lover Arrive' feature catchy, toe-tapping melodies undercut with rasping guitars. There's some nice keyboard-flexing adorning the oddly-monikered 'Mama Frog', and the album's final track 'Drink Of Water' also manages to exude a certain rosy charm, with a slightly more ambitious structure finding the group leaning towards a more overtly-progressive edge. Later efforts would find the group heading in a much more commercially-acceptable direction, making this the pick of their five studio releases, yet with the new, aggressive punk movement trashing anything faintly expressive it was always going to be difficult for a group such as these. Entertaining then, 'Ambrosia' is by no means a bad album, and paying special attention to some of their group's spiky lyrics garners some interesting rewards for the listener, yet overall this is simply far too tame for it's own good.

STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

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Send comments to stefro (BETA) | Report this review (#641387)
Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Here's an odd one - Ambrosia's debut album leads off with the occasionally grating Nice Nice Very Nice (which features vocals which are either a half-hearted and somewhat racist attempt at an Indian accent or just whimsical and weird for the sake of it) and is littered with more commercial moments here and there, but when you get into the meat of it the band actually excel at vivid prog-psych instrumental workouts - it's just a shame they don't make as much space for those on the album as they could have done. It's decent enough pop-prog which doesn't quite hit the tier of the likes of, say, Supertramp or the Alan Parsons Project, but you can see how Ambrosia might have made it to that tier had they stuck with this approach and polished it a bit. Three stars, maybe three and a half if you don't mind cheesy vocals and unexpected outbursts of dirty funk or blues.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#1046132)
Posted Friday, September 27, 2013 | Review Permalink

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