ARTIST: Roxy Music
TITLE: Country Life
YEAR RELEASED: 1974
CHART ACTION: #37 US, #3 UK
SINGLES: The Thrill of It All, All I Want Is You (#12 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Out of the Blue, Prairie Rose, Bitter-Sweet, Casanova
LINEUP: Bryan Ferry, John Gustafson, Eddie Jobson, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera, Paul Thompson.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The record that Roxy Music was building up to since they formed.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This record has everything: energy, elegance, sophistication, dirty-sounding guitar, sex, Germans, alienation, and Bryan Ferry’s quintessential detached observational vocals and lyrics.
The players are all on top of their game, with Phil Manzanera’s guitar shining, Eddie Jobson’s violin and keyboards adding distinct color and flavor, and Paul Thompson’s solid and intricate drumming. Ferry even adds harmonica (!).
Not only was this their first Top 40 hit in the US, it set up for Roxy Music to have some imprint on the singles chart the next year. The drive of “All I Want Is You” and “Casanova”, the chaos of “The Thrill of It All”, the German oom-pahs of “Bitter Sweet”, and my personal favorite Roxy song of all time “Out of the Blue”, featuring Andy Mackay on oboe, Thompson and John Gustafson’s rhythm section work, Manzanera’s dirty guitar during the chorus, and great production by Chris Thomas with the flange.
This is hot and cool at the same time. The album cuts and the singles all co-exist into one outstanding package.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Several countries censored the album cover. Sigh.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE A+: The pinnacle of art-rock.