When a change led rock’s hipsters to the middle of the road.
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Cincinnati 1978 [no label, 1CD]
Live at 5th Floor Studios, Cincinnati, OH; November 15, 1978. Ex pre-FM stereo.
Joe Puerta, Christopher North and Burleigh Drummond are still plying their trade as Ambrosia. In fact, original member David Pack and keyboard player David Cutler Lewis were still with Ambrosia as recently as 2001. This is one close-knit band.
This Californian band formed in 1970, around the time the anti-thesis of hard rock was emerging, that “soft rock” sound of Southern California that the Eagles made famous. Some will say their music was “not bland but progressive” but they did score with a couple of catchy tunes, Holdin’ On To Yesterday, Can’t Let A Woman and at this performance in 1978, How Much I Feel, their biggest hit at the time, achieving the No. 3 slot on Billboard. It guaranteed them a lifetime of plays on American FM. It also shifted their focus.
For their third album, Ambrosia wanted a harder rock sound, after spending the first two albums in prog rock territory. You can hear them revved up in this performance at the 5th Floor Studios. As Scooter123, who shared this show comments:
“Here’s a really nice pre-FM stereo soundboard of one of my favorite bands, showcasing their ‘Life Beyond L.A.’ LP in a studio in Cincinnati. There is a little hiss, but it is hardly noticeable.”
Life Beyond L.A. was Ambrosia treading carefully between pop and experiment. This unique live performance with four songs from the album shows how distinct both sides were. You can see how a progressive band, inspired by King Crimson, was equally competent handling a ballad like How Much I Feel. That ballad took control of the band.
Then you will remember how Chicago’s jazz-rock quickly descended to pop balladry. That’s the same route Ambrosia took with their next album One Eighty which scored two big hits. Our onetime musicians had forsaken their art to become craftsmen. Most now remember Ambrosia as Top 40 fodder when they were so much more. Thankfully this captured performance archived Ambrosia before all that.
Thanks Scooter123 for sharing this on the net.
- Professor Red
Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.
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Track 01. Intro (11.1MB)
Track 02. Life Beyond L.A.* (8.2MB)
Track 03. Runnin’ Away
If Heaven Could Find Me* (7.0MB)
Track 04. How Much I Feel
Not As You Were* (10.0MB)
Track 05. Somewhere I’ve Never Traveled
How Much I Feel* (8.7MB)
Track 06. Nice Nice Very Nice
And… Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled ++ (10.8MB)
Track 07. The Brunt part 1
Nice, Nice, Very Nice ^ (5.1MB)
Track 08. The Brunt part 2
The Brunt ++ (2.7MB)
Track 09. band intros > Holding On To Yesterday ^ (9.5MB)
Track 10. Can’t Let A Woman ++ (10.6MB)
Track 11. I Wanna Know ++ (13.1MB)
* These four songs are found on Life Beyond L.A.
++ These songs are found on their previous album, Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled.
^ These two songs are on their self-titled debut album.
David Pack - vocals, guitar
Chris North - keyboards
Joe Puerta - vocals, bass
Burleigh Drummond - drums, percussion, background vocals
David Cutler Lewis - keyboards
For the studio versions, get yourself a copy of 1978’s Life Beyond L.A. An MP3 download is affordable.
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Updated: March 19, 2013
Ambrosia’s “Life Beyond L.A.: The Deluxe Edition” 2CD (ADA/Relayer) will be released April 30 and comes with a 1978 unreleased live concert bonus disc. While the date and venue of the show is not known, the tracklist for the live disc at imwan.com is as follows: Life Beyond L.A.; If Heaven Could Find Me; Not As You Were; How Much I Feel; Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled; Nice, Nice, Very Nice; The Brunt; Holding On To Yesterday; Can’t Let A Woman and I Wanna Know.
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