Country Life (Roxy Music album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Country Life
Roxy Music-Country Life.jpg
Studio album by
Released15 November 1974 (1974-11-15)
RecordedJuly 1974 – August 1974
StudioAIR Studios, London
GenreArt rock
Length41:42
Label
Producer
Roxy Music chronology
Stranded
(1973)
Country Life
(1974)
Siren
(1975)
Singles from Country Life
  1. "Out of the Blue"
    Released: August 1974[1]
  2. "All I Want Is You"
    Released: October 1974[1]
  3. "The Thrill of It All"
    Released: November 1974[1]

Country Life is the fourth album by English rock band Roxy Music, released in 1974 by Island Records. It was released by Atco Records in the United States.[1] The album is considered by many critics to be among the band's most sophisticated and consistent.

Country Life peaked at number three on the UK albums chart. It also charted at number 37 in the US, becoming their first record to crack the top 40 in the country. The album includes Roxy Music's fourth hit single, "All I Want Is You", which, backed with the B-side "Your Application's Failed", reached number 12 on the UK singles chart. An edited version of "The Thrill of It All", with the same B-side, was released in the US.

Style and themes[edit]

Band leader Bryan Ferry took the album's title from the British rural lifestyle magazine Country Life.

The opening track, "The Thrill of It All", is an uptempo rocker that builds on the style of previous Roxy Music songs such as "Virginia Plain" (1972) and "Do the Strand" (1973); it includes a quote from Dorothy Parker's poem "Resume": "You might as well live". Eddie Jobson's violin dominates the heavily-flanged production of "Out of the Blue", which became a live favourite. Esoteric musical influences are 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".

"Three and Nine" has been likened to the whimsical fare of Ray Davies, with Ferry looking back nostalgically to a time of watching the moving pictures in cinemas in his youth, for the pre-decimalization price of 3 shillings and ninepence.[2][3]

"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 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", is an ode to Texas and sometimes mistakenly thought as a reference to Jerry Hall. However, Ferry would not meet Hall until 1975.[4]

Cover art[edit]

Shot by Eric Boman,[5] the Country Life cover features two scantily-clad models, Constanze Karoli (sister of Can's Michael Karoli[6]) and Eveline Grunwald (who was also Michael Karoli's girlfriend). 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 credited for appearing on the cover, they are credited on the lyric sheet for their German translation work.

The cover image was controversial in some countries, including the United States, Spain, and the Netherlands, where it was censored for release. As a result, early releases in the US were packaged in opaque shrink wrap; 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.[7] Author Michael Ochs has described the result as the "most complete cover-up in rock history".[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[8]
OverdoseA[9]
Pitchfork9.4/10[10]
Q4/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[12]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[13]
The Village VoiceB+[14]

Jim Miller, in a 1975 review for Rolling Stone, wrote that "Stranded and Country Life together mark the zenith of contemporary British art rock."[15]

In 2003, Country Life was ranked number 387 on Rolling Stone'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).[16]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Bryan Ferry, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleLength
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.TitleLength
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]

Roxy Music

Note: On the 1999 CD reissue of Country Life, Manzanera and Thompson's respective credits are erroneously reversed.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1974–75) Peak
position
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[17] 26
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[18] 10
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[19] 47
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[20] 38
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[21] 8
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[22] 15
UK Albums (OCC)[23] 3
US Billboard 200[24] 37

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[25] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

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. ^ "Roxy Music - Songs - on VivaRoxyMusic.com". www.vivaroxymusic.com. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Roxy Music - Articles, Interviews and Reviews - on VivaRoxyMusic.com". www.vivaroxymusic.com. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  4. ^ Anderson, Kristin (1 July 2015). "Eight Life Lessons From Jerry Hall's Cult-Favorite Memoir". Style.com. Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  5. ^ Törncrantz, Tintin (16 May 2009). "An Everyday Story Of Country Folk". Colette. Archived from the original on 10 October 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  6. ^ Young, Rob; Schmidt, Irmin (2018). All Gates Open: The Story of Can. Faber and Faber. ISBN 9780571311491. OCLC 985082791.
  7. ^ a b Ochs, Michael (2002). 1000 Record Covers. Taschen. ISBN 9783822819784.
  8. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Country Life – Roxy Music". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  9. ^ Hull, Tom (April 1975). "The Rekord Report: Third Card". Overdose. Retrieved 26 June 2020 – via tomhull.com.
  10. ^ Ewing, Tom (13 August 2012). "Roxy Music: Roxy Music: Roxy Music: The Complete Studio Recordings 1972–1982". Pitchfork. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Roxy Music: Country Life". Q. No. 156. September 1999. pp. 122–23.
  12. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Roxy Music". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 705–06. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ Sheffield, Rob (1995). "Roxy Music". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 336–38. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (17 March 1975). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  15. ^ Miller, Jim (27 February 1975). "Country Life". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  16. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Country Life – Roxy Music". Rolling Stone. 11 December 2003. Archived from the original on 20 December 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  17. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  18. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Roxy Music – Country Life" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 3934a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  20. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Roxy Music – Country Life" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Charts.nz – Roxy Music – Country Life". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  22. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Roxy Music – Country Life". Hung Medien. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  23. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  24. ^ "Roxy Music Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  25. ^ "British album certifications – Roxy Music – Country Life". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 8 October 2020. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Country Life in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.

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"