Monday, April 13, 2009
First album from the group, recorded in England with the ubiquitous Glyn Johns in the producers chair. Before Henley and Frey became the dominant decision makers and writers, Eagles Mach I was a fairly democratic setup. The lineup was filled out by master multi-instrumentalist Bernie Leadon and bass player/singer Randy Meisner. These guys didn't invent the country rock genre, though they certainly achieved more commercial success with it than their contemporaries.
Boasting vocal power to spare, the original quartet were all excellent singers in their own right. Their harmonies were as flawless as their instrumental contributions . Sticking to well crafted songs, the emphasis was on delivering a polished end product without pointed social messages or issues that reflected the times. In terms of longevity, this has allowed much of their output to retain freshness and avoid the date stamps associated with most early seventies fare.
Critics took them to task for not being animated enough in performance. It isn't the type of material with which you would associate an excessive light show and people flying through the air. Reproducing these songs live required a laid back approach with a focus on the individual parts that were crucial to the overall sound.
"Take It Easy" , "Witchy Woman" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling" have since become radio staples. You know them.
Here they are in 1973, with Leadon taking them through "Train Leaves Here This Morning" ,which he wrote with Gene Clark.
Giving Earl Scruggs a run for his money on "Earlybird"
Finally, a guy who rarely took leads (Meisner), but should have more often.
"Eagles" is an interesting album, capturing a style that they would soon abandon in favor of a more rock oriented path. I enjoy the record solely for the fact that it is a genuinely balanced presentation. Two very ambitious lieutenants would soon begin to vie for complete control of the operation, leaving Leadon and Meisner to play diminished roles before they finally bowed out.