Wednesday, 16 May 2018

"Captured Angel/Nether Lands" by DAN FOGELBERG (July 2007 Beat Goes On 2CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Oil On Canvas…Couplets And Stanzas..."

I have to say that Beat Goes On of the UK have done a solid by Dan Fogelberg’s excellent recorded output – their remasters of his Seventies classics have been utterly superb – and this 2nd volume in that series is no different.

UK released July 2007 - "Captured Angel/Nether Lands" by DAN FOGELBERG on Beat Goes On BGOCD 764 (Barcode 5017261207647) is a 2CD Reissue and Remaster that comes in a card slipcase and features Dan Fogelberg's third and fourth studio albums from the Seventies "Captured Angel" (1975) and "Nether Lands" (1977). It plays out as follows...

Disc 1 (38:04 minutes):
1. Aspen/These Days [Side 1]
2. Come And Goes
3. Captured Angel
4. Old Tennessee
5. Next Time [Side 2]
6. Man In The Mirror
7. Below The Surface
8. Crow
9. The Last Nail
Tracks 1 to 9 are his 3rd album “Captured Angel” first issued in the USA in September 1975 on Full Moon PE 33499 and November 1975 in the UK on Epic S EPC 69189.

Disc 2 (45:31 minutes):
1. Nether Lands [Side 1]
2. Once Upon A Time
3. Dancing Shoes
4. Lessons Learned
5. Loose Ends
6. Love Gone By [Side 2]
7. Promises Made
8. Give Me Some Time
9. Scarecrow’s Dream
10. Sketches
11. False Faces
Tracks 1 to 11 are his 4th LP released May 1977 in the USA on Full Moon Records PE 34185 and June 1977 in the UK on Epic EPC 81574.

The 20-page booklet is excellent – all artwork reproduced, lyrics to both albums, full credits and liner notes by noted writer JOHN TOBLER. With the outer card wrap – it’s a classy presentation. But the big news for fans is the fabulous remasters. ANDREW THOMPSON at Sound Mastering in London has done the deed (he’s handled large numbers of BGO’s reissues) and his transfers on this 2CD set are beautifully handled. But to the music…

Following the stunning Joe Walsh produced “Souvenirs” in 1974 was always going to be hard (it charted at 17 in the States) and in some ways I still remember “Captured Angel” as being a disappointment when I bought it as a teenager (it reached Number 23). It opens however with a strong double – the strings of "Aspen" segueing into the Country Rock of "These Days" which is followed by the very pretty "Comes And Goes" (a firm fan fave). The title track and its Side 1 finisher "Old Tennessee" sound nice but lack any real killer melody for me.

Things pick up with the piano and Al Perkins Pedal Steel of “Next Time” which could have been an Eagles song. Both “Man In The Mirror” and “Below The Surface” go down the countrified route again - while “Crow” really benefits from the remaster with slide guitars beautifully alive in the mix all of a sudden. “The Last Nail” goes all Eagles again and the remaster brings his stunning multi-instrumental prowess out of the mud – very good indeed.

Things got very melodramatic with 1977’s “Nether Lands” – and not in a good way. The opening title track is swamped with huge strings and orchestral stuff that just feels heavy handed. Things improve with the Country Rock of “Once Upon A Time” now sounding so good and the pretty accordion piece “Dancing Shoes”. Again the shadow of the Eagles surfaces with “Lessons Learned” which sounds like “The Best Of My Love” (fabulous remaster too). “Love Gone By” is trying too hard with its pseudo Rock and Roll franticness - but “Promises Made” which sounds ‘so’ Dan Fogelberg redeems things. It ends with the echoed piano of “Sketches” and the excellent big finisher “False Faces” (a true nugget in his song catalogue – lyrics from it title this review). 

He would hit paydirt with 1979’s “Phoenix” and really open out with “The Innocent Age” double in 1981 (featuring a rare duet vocal appearance by Joni Mitchell on the track "Nexus").

I posted a note on Fogelberg’s website when he sadly succumbed to cancer in December 2007 - yet another teenage hero of mine gone to the great gig in the sky.

Well - now Dan is free - and this beautiful-sounding 2CD reissue does his musical legacy proud...

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