Band Members on record :
Don Henley (Drums / Vocals), Glenn Frey (Vocals / Guitars), Bernie Leadon (Vocals / Guitars) and Randy Meisner (Bass / Vocals)
Eagles : Self - Titled
Year Released : 2014 (original released in 1972) Celebrating 50 years this year
Produced by Glyn Johns
Price Range: $30 - $40 AUD
Speed: 33 1/3RPM
Album Before : N/A (First record for Eagles)
Album After : Desperado
Further Listening : Jackson Browne : Running on Empty
LP : 180 Gram, Black vinyl
Mood for enjoying: This one can be enjoyed in a lot of different moods due to the up-beat songs and slower ballad numbers. It can make you feel melancholy at times during songs like 'Most Of Us Are Sad'. They've done well to have a balance of emotions across the record but for me sitting by the pool side on a muggy day felt about right.
Track Listing: LP:
Side A Take It Easy - 3:29
Witchy Woman - 4:10
Chug All Night - 3:13
Most Of Us Are Sad - 3:33
Train Leaves Here This Morning - 4:07
Take The Devil - 4:00
Earlybird - 3:00
Peaceful Easy Feeling - 4:16
Tryin' - 2:50
What's in the Sleeve ? The album has been reissued the way that the band originally intended with the gatefold that folds out into a poster. This version allows the gatefold to fold out but original version was glued by Geffen records which made the band appear upside down on the inside of the record. The band have confirmed they were smoking peyote at the time the photographs were taken. Record comes in a paper/poly slip in one side and an empty record sleeve in the other side. The photo and red text make it problematic and confusing on the eyes. Extremely difficult to read and bad decision. Luckily its only the track list and band details and not lyrics to the songs.
"Open up your eyes, Take the devil from your mind. He's been holding on to you, And you're so hard to find ~ Take The Devil - Side B
Welcome to Spin #3 - Eagles : Self-Titled Album I chose this record as the third Spin because I honestly have not given enough time listening to such a great band. Also being the 50th anniversary of their debut self-titled album feels like a pretty good reason. Ok, so I know the Eagles and like what I've heard of their catalogue but I would be more familiar with 'Hotel California' and 'One Of These Nights' more than this record.
For the review I used the set up in our Entertaining Area outside due to working at the time and ease of stopping when I received dreaded work calls. The fully automated table (Audio Technica BT turntable) provides that perk of auto lift and auto drop. The Marshall Woburn II is a great speaker and I'd consider getting a second one down the track as you can control them as a Left and Right set up via the Marshall App. For now, listening to the Eagles through the one large speaker is good enough.
Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):
The only story I know of the Eagles - just as the stylus is working its way into the first song - is the one remembered best by Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath. The Eagles left so much cocaine in the mixing board of the studio during recording of their albums that before Sabbath could finish recording their album, they had to scrape out all the white powder. Who would have thought that Sabbath would be the ones complaining about that!
Our daughter is sitting in her little rocker chair eagerly awaiting the first track and it doesn't disappoint. The track ' Take It Easy' seems like the single the band or producer would have chosen as the standout track to promote. I've heard it many times before but listening to it through the outside set-up for the first time is enjoyable. I forgot how incredibly well pressed this 2014 version by Asylum records was. The track has an infectious use of banjo throughout with good harmonies by Henley, Leadon and Meisner. Very relaxing tempo to listen to and the focus given to this song is evident. I like the lyrics to this song - "Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy".
As song one fades out and song two begins with 'Witchy Woman'. The second track which is sung by the drummer, Don Henley. It's groovy and has good Bass pace. The reference to the mysterious woman who works her magic could be a song about my wife (due to her magical ways). The song is slower and provides a showcase for Henley and his drums to really challenge the first song musically. The sultry style and use of harmonies reminded me of Pink Floyd or Fleetwood Mac in a way. Currently I'd say this is my front runner and wanted to replay the song as soon as it ended.
The third song on Side A is 'Chug All Night'. A fast paced track that lifts the pace back up after the slower 'Witchy Woman'. One Issue I had listening to this on the outdoor system was when the Bluetooth connected elsewhere in the house and volume went really loud and then really soft. A quick fix but this song didn't really grab me and sounded a bit like a filler song. Unfortunately, after the solid opening tracks - 'Chug All Night' felt like a step back.
It quickly leads into song four on Side A - 'Most Of Us Are Sad'. Really stood out to me and maybe it was because of the mood I was in during the spin or because it was after 'Chug All Night'. It's a slow ballad that would really sound nice sung live with an acoustic setup. Close your eyes and imagine an intimate, low light setting and listen to the lyrics. This song was written and included to bring the listener along for the ride emotionally and I think the Eagles nailed it. "Oh weeping woman try to smile, Like the coming dawn. Most of us are sad it's true, Still we must go on". Our daughter started getting sleepy so the stylus had to be lifted and she was taken to bed. Not sure if she was crying due to the emotion in the song or if she was a 7 month old who gets upset when she is sleepy or hungry....kidding. She is clearly sleepy but it was a nice coincidence.
The last song on Side A is 'Nightingale'. It's an up beat tempo number that lyrically could have been written for the late 50's or early 60's. It pairs well with the 70's style music if that makes sense. I like the tempo changes and the climbing guitar chords which mirror the uncertainty of the words being sung. "I'm hanging onto my peace of mind, I just don't know". So far there is enough to like on this record with the crisp sound and steady playback.
Now it's time for the LP to be flipped. (I just want to mention in-case some people didn't know that this is a Long Play record and the sizing is 12"). After receiving another couple of work calls it's time to hit the start button and watch the stylus hit the grooves on Side B. Song one on Side B, 'Train Leaves Here This Morning' would fit nicely on a Neil Young, Bob Dylan or Neil Diamond record. The Bass of Meisner on the record is really strong and I raise this because a lot of albums today focus on either the vocals or guitars and production drowns out the bass. Some of the best records unfortunately have bass chords that get lost in the mixing studio but Glyn Johns has succeeded in giving each musician their respect.
The second song on Side B, 'Take The Devil' starts with strong lyrics of "Open up your eyes, Take the devil from your mind. He's been holding on to you, And you're so hard to find". There is some pretty passionate and raw singing by Meisner and it pairs well with the drums before the interlude of the guitar rolls in. Could easily be mistaken as a song on a Mötley Crüe record but the Eagles wouldn't be wearing the Glam hair metal look whilst singing this one. Apparently, the producer Glyn Johns wasn't sold on the Eagles as a band - Live or in Studio until he heard this song. I can see why he changed his mind and the harmonies really sell this sound for me. If I could only recommend that you listen to one song from this album then this would be the one.
This leads into song three on Side B, 'Earlybird' which starts off with a recording of birds chirping mixed with electronic sounds and then the banjo. I could be wrong but listening to the lyrics on this album so far and I think this is the first song that mentions the band name, Eagles. Might need to listen to this album on the loungeroom setup to see the full range effect of this intro through the 4 x Sherwood bookshelf speakers. It's not the strongest song but the use of the banjo for me is a nice touch. Many readers will liken this sound to bands like 'The Doobie Brothers' and 'The Ozark Mountain Daredevils', who my father introduced me to.
Song four on Side B, 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' really ties in the album cover lyrically with the band sitting by a fire in the desert at Joshua Tree. If you have a look below at the images, the gatefold can fold out as a poster because it is not glued. The Eagles have produced a well balanced sound across this album and this song doesn't deviate from that. They found a formula that works for them and have more hits than misses during their debut album.
The last song on the album gives off a 'Queen' vibe similar to when Roger Taylor was singing behind the kit. I don't know why but this was the image I saw in my head whilst this song played. All the musicians are clearly heard throughout this production and there was a rumour that this album should have been pressed for Quadrophonic sound but never was. It's a shame that this didn't happen for the audiophiles out there.
Overall the Eagles have put out more good on this album than some bands do in their whole career. It's an easy listen with enough substance to keep you re-playing it over and over. I can't wait to show our son this record as I can already see the songs that he would be dancing along to. The weakest song on the album for me is still 'Chug All Night' but that would be the only negative that I have. That and the poor choice of red text on the record sleeve as it makes it impossible to read (mentioned in the 'Whats in the Sleeve? section).
Excited to hear more from this band as they have set the bar high on this record. So if you don't have this record in your collection please go to your local record store and pick up a copy. Hopefully they release a 50th anniversary Quadraphonic edition because that would be truly something to listen to.
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