Country Life (Roxy Music album)

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Country Life
Studio album by Roxy Music
Released 15 November 1974 (1974-11-15)
Recorded July 1974 (1974-07)–August 1974 (1974-08) at AIR Studios, London
Genre Art rock, glam rock
Length 41:42
Label Island, Polydor (UK)
Atco, Reprise (US)[1]
Producer Chris Thomas, John Punter, Roxy Music
Roxy Music chronology
Stranded
(1973)
Country Life
(1974)
Siren
(1975)
Singles from Country Life
  1. "Out of the Blue"
    Released: August 1974 (1974-08)[1]
  2. "All I Want Is You"
    Released: October 1974 (1974-10)[1]
  3. "The Thrill of It All"
    Released: November 1974 (1974-11)[1]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork Media (9.4/10)[3]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau B+[5]

Country Life is the fourth album by British rock band Roxy Music, released in 1974 and reaching No. 3 in the UK charts. It also made No. 37 in the United States, their first record to crack the Top 40 there. The album is considered by many critics to be among the band's most sophisticated and consistent. Jim Miller in his review for Rolling Stone wrote "Stranded and Country Life together mark the zenith of contemporary British art rock."[6] Band leader Bryan Ferry took the album's title from the British rural lifestyle magazine Country Life.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 387 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It was one of four Roxy Music albums that made the list (For Your Pleasure, Siren and Avalon being the others).[7]

Style and themes[edit]

The opening track, "The Thrill of It All", was an up-tempo rocker that further developed the style of songs like "Virginia Plain" (1972) and "Do the Strand" (1973); it included a quote from Dorothy Parker's poem "Resume": "You might as well live". Edwin Jobson's violin dominated the heavily-flanged production of "Out of the Blue", which became a live favourite. Esoteric musical influences were betrayed by the German oom-pah band passages in "Bitter-Sweet", the Elizabethan flavour of "Triptych" and the lighthearted, boogie-blues, Southern rock edge to "If It Takes All Night".

"Casanova" was singled out for praise by a number of critics as a more cynical and hard-rocking number than the usual Roxy Music fare. Like the earlier "In Every Dream Home a Heartache" (1973), it was seen as a critique of the hollowness of the contemporary jet set, and contained further instances of Bryan Ferry's idiosyncratic word association ("Now you're nothing but / Second hand in glove / With second rate"). A re-recorded version, more mellow than the original, appeared on Ferry's 1976 solo album Let's Stick Together.

The final track, "Prairie Rose", was an ode to Texas and one of its daughters, Jerry Hall, Ferry's new girlfriend, who was soon to appear on the cover of Roxy Music's fifth album, Siren (1975), and later in the video to Ferry's hit single "Let's Stick Together".

Country Life included Roxy Music's fourth single, "All I Want Is You" b/w "Your Application's Failed", which reached No. 12 in the UK charts. An edited version of "The Thrill of It All", with the same B-side, was released in the United States. The album was released on Atco Records, a division of Atlantic Records.

Cover art[edit]

Shot by Eric Boman,[8] the cover features two scantily-clad models, Constanze Karoli (reportedly[citation needed] either the sister or first cousin of Can's Michael Karoli) and Eveline Grunwald. Bryan Ferry met them in Portugal and persuaded them to do the photo shoot as well as to help him with the words to the song "Bitter-Sweet". Although not namechecked for appearing on the cover, they are credited on the lyric sheet for their German translation work.

The cover image was considered controversial in some countries such as the United States, Spain, and the Netherlands, where it was censored for release. As a result, a later American LP release of Country Life (available during the years 1975–80) featured a different cover shot. Instead of Karoli and Grunwald posed in front of some trees, the reissue used a photo from the album's back cover that featured only the trees.[9] Author Michael Ochs has described the result as the "most complete cover-up in rock history".[10]

The cover art has been mimicked by:

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Bryan Ferry except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "The Thrill of It All"   6:24
2. "Three and Nine" (Ferry, Andy Mackay) 4:04
3. "All I Want Is You"   2:53
4. "Out of the Blue" (Ferry, Phil Manzanera) 4:46
5. "If It Takes All Night"   3:12
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Bitter-Sweet" (Ferry, Mackay) 4:50
2. "Triptych"   3:09
3. "Casanova"   3:27
4. "A Really Good Time"   3:45
5. "Prairie Rose" (Ferry, Manzanera) 5:12

Personnel[edit]

Note: On the 1999 CD reissue of Country Life, Paul Thompson is credited for playing guitar and Phil Manzanera is credited for playing drums, when in fact the reverse is true.

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Year Chart Position
1974 UK Albums Chart 3
Billboard Pop Albums 37

Single[edit]

Year Single Chart Position
1974 "All I Want Is You" UK Singles Chart 12

Certifications[edit]

Organization Level Date
BPI – UK Gold 1 March 1975

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate Books. p. 930. ISBN 1-84195-860-3. 
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "allmusic ((( Country Life > Review )))". Allmusic. Retrieved 17 March 2010. 
  3. ^ http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16810-roxy-music-the-complete-studio-recordings-1972-1982/
  4. ^ Brackett, Nathan. "Roxy Music". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. November 2004. pg. 705, cited 17 March 2010
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (17 March 1975). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/country-life-19750227
  7. ^ The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time : Rolling Stone
  8. ^ An Everyday Story of Country Folk
  9. ^ Both covers compared
  10. ^ Michael Ochs (2002). Record Covers, Taschen, p.545
  11. ^ Love & Desperation – compare the album cover with Country Life's

Bibliography[edit]

  • Rex Balfour (1976). The Bryan Ferry Story
  • David Buckley (2004). The Thrill of it All: The Story of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music
  • Todd Burns (2004). Stylus Magazine: "Under the Covers"

External links[edit]