PDA

View Full Version : First Blush review: Eagles Out of Eden



Bob Womack
11-04-2007, 05:15 AM
Okay, folks, here’s a first-blush reflection on the Eagles Long Road Out of Eden release. By way of introduction, this is a two CD set that’s selling for $11.88 exclusively at Walmart. After years of wrangling they’ve ditched their record company. The CD set is packaged in a bi-fold cardboard cover very reminiscent of an album cover, with an enclosed booklet. Though not touted as carbon neutral, it is built from “Mixed Sources” high-percentage recycled materials. The packaging and photography is impeccable.

The backup band is largely made up of the usual suspects from the Farewell I and Hell Freezes Over DVD sets – a really tight bunch. Producer credit is given to the Eagles with touring band members Steuart Smith, Richard Davis, and Scott Crago as well as Bill Szymczyk. The band and Szymczyk produced a full album back around 2001 but failed to release it. Perhaps some of these cuts are from that vintage. The mix was by Elliot Scheiner, who mixed the above-mentioned two DVDs and has become the premier mixer in this genre. The mixes are immaculate. There is lots of meat for the subwoofers in the kick drum and bass sounds as well as crisp highs as fodder for the tweeters. As has become traditional with Eagles products, this is probably destined to become a system check CD for many people because of its clean, crisp recording style. There’s plenty of space between the various components, but each song gels well into a tight groove that simply works. As usual, the performances and arrangements are spot-on tight, with few wasted notes. I’ve got to say that if you like the Eagles, you are definitely getting the value for your pennies in this set.

The two CDs are like two different worlds. Disk one represents the Southern California country-rock and ‘70s anti-disco, anti-punk, smooth-pop sensibility. If a reviewer calls the whole album that, he clearly hasn’t made it to disk two, where the artsy side of the Eagles re-emerges. There you have the protest songs and more serious side of each of the Eagles. There they stretch out and try a few new things. Let’s look at the songs one at a time:

Disk 1
1. No More Walks in the Wood – As song about over-forestation and over-development. Features the Eagles’ lush multi-part harmonies and one acoustic guitar. Perhaps the lyrics were a bit too literal and not open ended enough?
2. How Long – Practically irresistible and inarguable. A “perfect” Take It Easy-esque country-rock statement. You can hear it everywhere about right now.
3. Busy Being Fabulous - A Henley anti-Hollywood ballad. Smooth, self-contained, excellent production.
4. What Do I Do with My Heart - A Frey piano ballad with a strangely ‘70s-‘80s anti-disco musical sensibility and a “You are leaving me” theme.
5. Guilty of the Crime - Here’s your Walsh party animal rocker with slide. Pretty much mindless party pop.
6. I Don’t Want to Hear Any More – Paul Carrack-penned Timmy Schmidt ballad with an “It’s Over But We’re Okay” theme. Lush, lush vocal treatment and interesting lead sound.
7. Waiting in the Weeds – A clean acoustic Henley ballad. There is deeper, more mature lyical thing going here where he kind of compares love and his career as a musician.
8. No More Cloudy Days – This Frey ballad premiered on Farewell I. He wrote it for his daughter after she experienced a relationship breakup. It is driven by an interesting bass and kick sound.
9. Fast Company – Here’s an uptown, Motown-esque song in protest of the Hollywood culture.
10. Do Something – An acoustic with pedal steel Timmy Schmidt motivational piece.
11. You Are Not Alone – Classy, reassuring ballad. This could serve as a great album closer.

So ends disk 1, over 45 minutes of music. They could have released this disk alone and it would have seemed complete.

Disk 2
1. Long Road Out of Eden – begins with a Middle Eastern flavor and moves into a war/culture protest song from the perspective of a returning soldier. An interesting attempt: Support the troops – write a war protest song. Clearly one of the artsiest fore’s on the album.
2. I Dreamed There Was No War – a dreamy wistful instrumental. Short but sweet.
3. Somebody – Frey attempts the classic “crow is following you” motif, resurrecting what they have jokingly referred to as their “satanic rhythm and blues country rock” period a la Witchy Woman.
4. Frail Grasp on the Big Picture – Here’s an interesting take on uptown swing and R&B with social commentary on our culture’s apparent short memory and un-thought-out lifestyle.
5. Last Good Time in Town – Walsh finally gets around to a serious piece about the virtues of the domestic, as opposed to party, life. The title refers to staying home. The style is reminiscent of his “But Seriously Folks” era and the interesting guitar solos evoke the “So What” era.
6. I Love to Watch a Woman Dance - An interesting folk/pop piece that soon shows its true colors as he makes it clear he loves to dance with his wife.
7. Business as Usual – An uptown rocker talking about commerce as god.
8. Center of the Universe – a soft Timmy tune where he makes the point that we are not (the song’s title)
9. It’s Your World Now – Surprise! It’s a unique mariachi-flavored closer from Fret offering his perspective on the world and our place in it to the next generation.

And here ends another complete disk with nearly forty-six minutes of music that might easily have stood on its own.

This is a very complete package with something from every era for every Eagles fan. Does it break lots of new ground? Mmm… Don’t think so. The Eagles were never all that ground-breaking – instead they excelled at consolidating successful trends into the most tasteful statements, something of the sina qua nons, for the genre’s they entered. Here they usually make their commentary points pretty well without forcing the listener to get down and roll too much in their point of view. They get serious, but rarely maudlin. There are some really cool guitar sounds here, but very few ground-breaking guitar statements. Yes, Felder is missed.

Because of Henley’s on-again-off-again relationship with the media, I’m betting they won’t get a lot of coverage for this work. You can buy it off Amazon, by the way, if Walmart is just too much of suburbia for you. By the way, I’m not sure there was ever a greater contrast between artistic statement and delivery method than their selling this album in Walmart.

Bob

Robh3606
11-04-2007, 05:45 AM
Thanks Bob

I was considering going out today to pick it up. Now I think I will.

Rob:)

Titanium Dome
11-04-2007, 06:13 AM
Good info, Bob. Thanks for taking the time to write it out.

Probably, I would have passed it by, but now I'll check it out. Have to admit, I don't know where a Wal-Mart is around here, but I think there's one in Long Beach. (?)

LowPhreak
11-04-2007, 06:16 AM
By the way, I’m not sure there was ever a greater contrast between artistic statement and delivery method than their selling this album in Walmart.


Is that a nice way to say "hypocrisy"?

"hy·poc·ri·sy [hi-pok-ruh-see] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -sies.
1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude."


Maybe The Eagles should have written "Business As Usual" and "Frail Grasp on the Big Picture" to include themselves. :bs: I'm no fan of the big record companies but c'mon...WalMart? Robert Johnson did better down at the crossroads.

Bob Womack
11-04-2007, 07:57 AM
Is that a nice way to say "hypocrisy"?
*snip*
Maybe The Eagles should have written "Business As Usual" and "Frail Grasp on the Big Picture" to include themselves. :bs: I'm no fan of the big record companies but c'mon...WalMart? Robert Johnson did better down at the crossroads.Ya know,


Everyone has a hole in his head through which the wind loudly whistles.


I wrote that line myself. :D We all have holes in our indvidual worldviews that are glaring. Being a public figure puts yours on display in bold marquee letters. I've never been under the misapprehension that the Eagles really were super-virtuous characters. NEVER. I've never taken their political, geopolitical, or environmental advice. To be honest, in the big picture, they differ from me like night and day. However, in the micro-sphere, they do, on occasion, make some good points.

As a recording engineer by trade, I am often put in the unenviable position of having to listen to music that contains lyrical content with which I don't agree, just to keep my chops current. In fact, I find the industry awash in petulant, demanding whining voices of people who really don't have a clue about solutions. Of course, they aren't the least restrained in voicing their displeasure with just about anything, anyway. I've decided that I don't want to be like that. However, some of the people in the recording industry can make some darned good recordings. Engineer Elliot Scheiner, for instance, makes some, ummm... darned good recordings. When I met him and talked shop for a bit, he was actually very nice to me.

The Eagles have severed ties with a very broken music industry and attempted to strike out on a new path. And, in all the aplomb and fiasco available to a very flawed human race, they have discovered that some of their political and economic views *simply don't work* when they are seeking to find a free market for their product. Being extremely shrewed marketeers, I don't think the irony is lost on them.

And so, while I am cognizant of the background noise of the political inconsistencies of the members of the Eagles, I made my review as apolitical as I felt was possible, while not avoiding the, ahem, attendant irony. Call it my bit to make this a kinder, gentler world. :blink:

Take care,

Bob

SEAWOLF97
11-04-2007, 08:59 AM
Is that a nice way to say "hypocrisy"?

I'm no fan of the big record companies but c'mon...WalMart? Robert Johnson did better down at the crossroads.

who cares where it comes from ?? (except from the tobacco companies) I dont think they are getting rich at $11.88 for a double....it appears to be a good release at a great price. Once its in your hands, it makes no difference whether it came from WallyMart, Target, costco or MidniteCDsupply.

Thanx for the review, Bob

4313B
11-04-2007, 09:18 AM
Good info, Bob. Thanks for taking the time to write it out.Yes, thank you.

lgvenable
11-04-2007, 03:02 PM
As an Eagle fan since the early 70's, I find it refreshing that they decided to go the route of bypassing big music recording studios, and take their music directly to the people through (in this case) WalMart.

I live in a small town where a small vocal minority tried to eliminate WalMart; and insisted that everything would be better if we all continued to use the smaller stores in town.

What a deal!! Everything we buy in these stores is 40% more, and doesn't go into Mom and Pop but rather in smaller corporate (mainly grocery) hands. BTW we voted those guys down to 377 to 118; and still they whine. They only support elections that go their way. The Super WalMart ? Opens in 2 months! One thing is a fact lower prices = money YOU can spend.

I don't care who they market it through, rather that they brought a quality product to everyone at a price clearly $6 to $9 less many artists can. I guess that goes to their ability as established artists to go their own way.

Thanks for the review Bob. Thanks for the cost savings to The Band.:D

LowPhreak
11-04-2007, 05:52 PM
In supporting the race to the bottom, don't complain when you some day find yourself there also.

hjames
11-04-2007, 06:15 PM
When the Clash released the 3 disc Sandanista album (licorice pizza things) it was clearly marked that it should sell for no more than $8.99. Quite awesome at the time - and that was the Band's desire - the record company HATED them for doing so. And it was before the WalMarts and the Chinese manufacturing stream.

Steve Schell
11-04-2007, 10:02 PM
TD, I got yer Mal-Wart right here. We're so classy in Long Beach that we have three stores to choose from: 151 East Fifth Street (downtown), 2770 East Carson Street and 7250 East Carson Street.

lgvenable
11-05-2007, 07:54 PM
Walmart or Not...Here's what its all about..circa 2004 in the Albany Farewell 2 concert. front section center rows 6th row from the front....

hjames
11-06-2007, 04:01 AM
Are they going to be like the Who, always coming back for just one more farewell tour? :D

How can we miss you if you won't go away ...

LowPhreak
11-06-2007, 08:04 AM
Are they going to be like the Who, always coming back for just one more farewell tour? :D

How can we miss you if you won't go away ...

When royalty monies start running low again, they all need to get off their duffs and put something out and/or a "reunion" tour; whether it's great or mediocre doesn't matter as long as they generate some sales. Gotta keep up that 'rock n' roll lifestyle' ya know.

Next up in another week or so is Led Zeppelin's "Mothership", which is yet another rehash ("Digitally Remastered...Again!") of their old stuff in a slick new package, but no new or never-released material.

Move along now...nothing to see here...

SEAWOLF97
11-06-2007, 08:23 AM
Next up in another week or so is Led Zeppelin's "Mothership", which is yet another rehash ("Digitally Remastered...Again!") of their old stuff in a slick new package..

Do you really think that most groups control their catalogues ? The Beatles didn't. CCR didn't ...Fantasy put out over 50 different repackagings of the same music, and that little perv Michael had catalogue control until Paul has started to buy some of it back.

do you think LZ is any different ?

LowPhreak
11-06-2007, 08:37 AM
Yes, some can control their catalogues to some extent and some can't, or at least have a very large say over what gets released or how/when - especially after their initial contractual obligations are done. Let's remember that in Zep's case, they had/have their own record company (Swan Song), although this upcoming concert is going to be a "tribute" to Atlantic guru Ahmet Ertegun.

I've seen reports where Jimmy says there may be other shows after the one in London, while Robert has said there's 'no chance' of that.

As a part-time drummer myself for many years, I'm certainly not on the side of the record companies. But I also know how musicians can get apathetic and uninspired to create new material, or not interested in gigging anymore - until it comes down to making the car payments.

hjames
11-06-2007, 08:56 AM
You should read some of Robert Fripp's diary (http://www.dgmlive.com/diaries.htm?entry=8224) - some of his comments on dealing with EG and how they did whatever in heck they wanted to do with the King Crimson masters:

"The emphasis is on the band getting the money. Now, that’s a good idea, and one I support. Here’s an example of the artist getting the money, The EG Way…

EG, as licensor, received the advance from its major label distributor. This was used to fund the making of the album, and the advance recovered from record sales. The costs of making the album was therefore paid for by the artist, who received royalties when sales generated income that exceeded the production costs. EG, however, were paid a royalty from Day One, on the First Sale. If sales did not recover the advance, the advance on this album was cross-recouped by EG against sales on other, more successful albums of the artist. And, whether the album was successful or not, EG owned the copyright on it. So, when the going got tough, EG sold those copyrights & the new owner continued not-to-pay royalties to former EG artists on un-recouped albums on which EG had received the advance in full – but had never distributed to the artist because the record had not recouped!"


There's a lot more - but basically he sued them and got the masters tapes back, and is managing the recordings himself for the band ... and still has endless grief when he finds things like Crimson recordings are released for internet sales when no such agreements with EMI (who "bought" the license from EG) were ever signed.

LowPhreak
11-06-2007, 09:30 AM
hjames - it's been known since Edison first made a record that generally the musician(s) gets effed. No surprise there about Fripp's story; I've read some of that before about the hassles Crimson has had.

I'm just saying that some of these bands could do better as to creating new (or better) material. So for example, as much as I love and respect the powerful & almighty Led Zeppelin :hyp: , I won't be buying their "new" release. I already have enough copies - on vinyl, CD, VHS, and DVD!!

4313B
11-06-2007, 09:46 AM
Next up in another week or so is Led Zeppelin's "Mothership", which is yet another rehash ("Digitally Remastered...Again!") of their old stuff in a slick new package, but no new or never-released material.Better a tired old Led rehash than anything being produced today. :D

LowPhreak
11-06-2007, 12:42 PM
Better a tired old Led rehash than anything being produced today. :D

For the most part, yeah I'd agree.

Titanium Dome
11-06-2007, 07:45 PM
Better a tired old Led rehash than anything being produced today. :D


For the most part, yeah I'd agree.

I just checked the calendar. It's November 2007.

I'm sure you guys like that old Jethro Tull chestnut, Living In The Past. :rotfl:

LowPhreak
11-06-2007, 08:23 PM
You should tell that to the Haydn, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven fans. :blah:

4313B
11-06-2007, 08:35 PM
I just checked the calendar. It's November 2007.

I'm sure you guys like that old Jethro Tull chestnut, Living In The Past. :rotfl:Yeah, I like it just fine. :)

merlin
11-07-2007, 12:07 PM
Eagles.... Desperado. Always has been and always will be the music for masses. I'm really tired of these ex rocks stars trying to cash in . For the most part the money is either used to put themselves through the Meadows or, to fund the next relapse. Their all most as bad as those talentless shits that sample the oldies then lay some rapp-crap over the top and offer it up as culture under-pinned by self-serving philosphy they read on the wall of the local tavern after a night drinking draught beer and Queer-bashing.

hell ,it just aint what a dude needs after a shite day at the office. Perhaps
the Eagles can go entertain the troops down on Guantanamo Bay.

LowPhreak
11-07-2007, 01:04 PM
Eagles.... Desperado. ...For the most part the money is either used to put themselves through the Meadows or, to fund the next relapse.
...


:cheers: I had to lol at that one.

Gary L
11-15-2007, 06:41 AM
Who Cares?

I always enjoyed the music from the Eagles and ran out to buy this one the day it hit the shelves at Wall World.

There is no doubt about it being the Eagles and some of the cuts are very nice indeed.

I am very happy to own this set, couldn't care less where I bought it from and probably won't be casting a political vote for any of them.

As far as I'm concerned "It's all about the music" and this set is fine and very well mixed and recorded.

If you don't happen to enjoy the Eagles music then its a safe bet you won't like this. I would venture a guess we all have music we enjoy from artists that ought to be Tared & Feathered for their political views or personal lifestyles.

My wife has a couple of old Barbara Streisand LPs she likes so I keep them seperated so they don't contaminate the rest of my albums!

Gary

4313B
11-15-2007, 06:50 AM
My wife has a couple of old Barbara Streisand LPs she likes so I keep them seperated so they don't contaminate the rest of my albums!Awww! Poor Babs!

:rotfl:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbfLQy7il14

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Euvz1s70iQ&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hf53oFb4IKA