Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Along The Red Ledge
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on July 18, 2000
Hall & Oates' 70's releases are like musical schizophrenia...sometimes Pop, sometimes Rock, sometimes Soul or R&B. Even after they scored hits with "Rich Girl" and "Sara Smile," interested music buyers couldn't tell just exactly they were getting when they bought an H&O album. "Along the Red Ledge" continues this trend to (mostly) positive effect.
The original "A" side is a collection of tunes in a Pop/Soul vein, though "Melody for a Memory" has it's share of rock guitar. This is the side where Daryl shines most as a vocalist. At times harsh and sardonic, then wistful and contemplative, his vocal arabesques are as impressive as they are unique to him. Of the two singles, "It's a Laugh" and "I Don't Wanna Lose You," the latter is the real winner, awash in a glorious Philly Soul arrangement. Even the gimmicky stereo separation of "The Last Time" seems to pay homage to R&B recordings of yore.
With "Alley Katz," the album turns to a more guitar driven sound, akin to hard rock but miles from Heavy Metal. Oates' more subdued vocals are featured on a couple of tracks from this set, and he sounds fine. Though H&O and their backing band are more than up to the challenge, at least two of these tracks ("Alley Katz" and "Pleasure Beach") are predictable and dull. "Don't Blame It On Love" and "Serious Music" are standouts, along with the atmospheric closing cut, "August Day." This song is one of the most affecting tracks on the album, conjuring images of "heavy grey" skies and wistful regrets.
Within a couple of years after this album, Hall & Oates nailed that elusive synthesis of Pop, Rock and Soul and began a string of top-selling singles and albums. Though "Along the Red Ledge" isn't as successful at bringing those styles together, it is a pleasureable listen and a memorable album overall.
-Mic
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on September 7, 2001
ALONG THE RED LEDGE, a Hall and Oates recording made in 1978, may be one of their finest, beaten only by their finest work, such as ABANDONED LUNCHEONETTE, MARIGOLD SKY, and BIG BAM BOOM.The reason this is so overlooked is that in the late 1970s, their records were in a commercial decline, thus not matching the successes made by the "silver" album or BIGGER THAN BOTH OF US. But strangely, the late '7os Hall and Oates albums had better selections, quality, and more experimentation. ALONG THE RED LEDGE would prove to be the best of them.
There are plenty of strong tracks here, and this record's first tune, the #20 hit "It's a Laugh" may be the least of them. Hall and Oates try quite a bit of different music here, ranging from raging punk-like guitars ("Alley Katz," and "Don't Blame It on Love") to swirling string arrangements ("Serious Music")to their hometown Philly-style soul ("I Don't Want To Lose You"). And while those are strong, Hall and Oates do very best on this album with the lighter songs, particularly "August Day," and "Have I Been Away Too Long." But the absolute highlight of ALONG THE RED LEDGE has to be "Melody For a Memory," a definite lost H&O classic that, to this date, has gotten almost no attention. The melody itself is powerful, while it eventually builds from calm, quiet instrumentation to loud, heavy rock guitars.
There are a few questionable elements, such as the vocals in "Have I Been Away Too Long," or just "Pleasure Beach." That song is a very underrated piece of music, and while it remains not a really great H&O song, it is certainly better than some paint it to be.
ALONG THE RED LEDGE, even with its flaws, presents a H&O fan with some Hall and Oates's finest work. It's definitely the best album Hall and Oates put out before they produced themselves in 1980, as it has the musical diversity and range necessary for a great record.
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on September 10, 2002
When you mention Daryl Hall & John Oates, most people snicker while memories of cheesy videos and slick soul-tinged 80's pop dance around in their heads. Too bad no remembers this gem of an album. It's an artistic triumph that reaches heights H&O never quite acheived again (although the two albums the proceeded it, 'X-Static' and 'Voices' came close). I was just a kid when 'Red Ledge' came out but even back then, I was blown away. Twenty-something years later have done nothing to diminish my enthusiasm. Songs such as "Don't Blame It On Love", which features Robert Fripp's ethereal Frippertronic guitar trills, a sick Caleb Quaye buzz-saw guitar solo, mad chord modulations and an unreal multi-layered vocal harmony break right in the middle of Quaye's solo, will leave you with your jaw on the floor- whether you like H&O or not!! "Serious Music", with more stellar harmonies, classical-styled harpsichord and another killer Quaye solo, is one of John Oates' finest songs. They band gets their soul shoes on for "The Last Time" (featuring a Spectoresque intro and George Harrison on acoustic guitar!!) and the Gamble & Huff-like rave of "I Don't Wanna Lose You". But these songs aren't the slicker pop-soul oriented efforts H&O produced in the '80's. These are tough, complex tunes with meaningful and sometimes poetic lyrics that reveal different meanings long after you've first heard them. RCA records probably thought that this would be the album that brought H&O into the big time, but instead, it was the worst selling album they'd had up to that point. Apparently, people who wanted "Sara Smile-part 2" couldn't grasp the experimental nature of this collection- and people who were fans of the music being made by the musicians H&O were hanging out with at the time (Fripp, Todd Rundgren, Rick Neilsen) didn't take H&O seriously enough to pay attention. It's too bad. Had this album been a hit, H&O may have experimented further, instead of moving in the slick direction they took after this grand commercial failure. Of course, things worked out pretty good for them in the end. And even on their most popular albums they always made room for a few tunes that pushed the envelope. But if you want to hear musicians at the height of their creative powers, this is an album that will shock fans and doubters alike.
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From my understanding? Hall & Oates 1977 album Beauty On A Back Street didn't do much to please the music listening public or either member of the duo themselves. The pair had the melodic pop smarts,the strong instrumental ability and lots of soul to boot. It just needed a tad bit more of a push to bring it up and keep it out more. This is an album that I always had a huge interest in by them-even when my first copy on vinyl skipped too much to enjoy. And it was a worthwhile effort to pick this up on CD because the pairs introductory record with the production of David Foster really showcases them getting their musical ball rolling along very nicely.

"It's A Laugh",with it's slogging echoed rhythms,sax intro and falsetto harmony choruses basically opens the door fully to the sound most people know from their 80's classics. "Melody For A Memory" and "Have I Been Away Too Long" have foreboding,marching rhythms with a thick late night arena rock ballad flavor. "The Last Time" has a full on wall of sound wallop to it while "I Don't Want To Lose You" is a bouncy "Motownphilly" type soul pop number. "Alley Katz" and "Don't Blame It On Love" are two riff heavy,punky styled street rockers that adds a sunny melody with the more surf flavored "Pleasure Beach". "August Day" is a beautifully harmonized ballad built around some beautifully processed piano.

It's really hard to describe this album in terms that are all that simplistic. But if I could it would be as one which was half soulful pop and half heavy guitar rockers. And say that loosely because both elements show up throughout all aspects of it. Foster's production has a glittery,
cinematic aspect about it that really works wonderfully with what Daryl and John do musically here. On every level? It basically does that rockier sound from the previous album in a way that functions better. That's because rock used more as an instrumental style here,where the primarily foundation is a jazzier soul and pop one. Definitely a key album in this iconic duos musical development.
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on August 23, 2008
I have always loved this album, ever since I first heard it as a distracted college student in 1985-86. I could only find it on vinyl, and there was no room in my dorm room for a record player. The college had a sound studio or something, where you could actually bring your album and a cassette tape and they would dub it for you for free. I spent some wonderful hours in that studio, listening with headphones as I was suddenly immersed in this album, Abandoned Luncheonette, Beauty on a Back Street and Bigger Than Both of Us.

Along the Red Ledge tends to be called underrated, and I have to agree. They show a depth here, musically and lyrically, that is simply amazing. I find myself wanting to hurl all kinds of hyperbolic praise on this album, and once you hear it, you'll understand why. I find myself not as impressed by It's a Laugh (don't know why, it's just kind of there for me), but it segues beautifully into Melody for a Memory, which is an awesome duet. The Last Time and I Don't Wanna Lose You are also favorites. Alley Katz is fun, silly and pretty hard rocking all at the same time. When I read their autobiography, I inferred from it that George Harrison had actually played on this track (the book doesn't say specifically, though). From there I assumed that they had given him the guitar solo, although when I played it for a diehard Beatles fan, he said it wasn't Harrison's style. I'm not sure I get why you would have someone like George Harrison play on a song and not give him the lead guitar solo. But I didn't realize the significance of the other heavy hitters guesting on this one.

Serious Music is actually just what it says, and you have to listen to the right music or listen with the right company of friends to hear homages to Bach and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. I admire them for writing this one.

Pleasure Beach never gets any mention, but I really like it. To me it's like a typical Beach Boys song married to the cynical lyrics Daryl and John are sometimes capable of. That juxtaposition makes you want to dance to it, and think. Can't go wrong with that combo. And August Day is just poetry, another favorite of mine. Between the synthesizers and what sounds like Frippertronics, and Daryl's haunting vocal...you just have to hear it.

The only reason I don't give it five stars is because I'm not absolutely in love with every song on the album. Don't Blame It On Love doesn't do that much for me, sorry. But I can't WAIT to hear this remastered! There was a period between the Silver Album and this one, including Bigger Than Both of Us and Beauty on a Back Street, where they really did a lot of gorgeous work and you realize just how great it is when you hear it remastered. This album has needed the remaster treatment for a long time, and it finally now gets its due. And yes, I'm writing this before I've actually listened to the remastered version. But I honestly can't imagine loving it more than I already do.
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on May 20, 2015
Two of my favorite songs by Hall and Oates are Have I Been Away and August Day come from this album. I will date myself here , I hadn't heard this record in full since listening to it on my sister's stereo probably 30 years ago. And yes we're talking vinyl here folks. So when I put this in the cd player in my car I was pleasantly surprised that this album was even better than I remembered.Without going over every song , suffice it to say this is a complete album without a bad song on it.If you're only familiar with thier 80's music and Sara Smile and Rich Girl give this a listen and be surprised.
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on January 19, 2013
Had this album when I was in college (all those years ago!) and loved it. Hall and Oates were so much more than pop artists, and this album proves that. "Have I Been Away Too Long?" is a soul classic, and the Robert Fripp inspired "Don't Blame It On Love" is a delightful cross of King Crimson and H&O. They used more guest artists on this release than most others, including Cheap Trick on Alley Katz. If you haven't heard this, or haven't listened to it lately, and like H&O's, check it out. Well worth the price of the download, would have loved to purchase the actual CD but it's still pretty pricey. Another lesser known H&O's album that merits attention is "War Babies", produced by Todd Rundgren. It's essentially a H&O&Rundgren album as TR plays lead guitar and sings background vocals in addition to producing the album. Lastly, if you haven't checked out Daryl Hall's "LiveFromDarylsHouse.com" DO SO IMMEDIATELY.. Daryl has done a show from his home monthly, and puts them on the web for free viewing. So glad I found that site 3 years ago last Dec!
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VINE VOICEon August 4, 2004
After the harder rocking "Beauty On a Back Street" failed to generate any hit singles, Daryl Hall and John Oates cut what was basically a double A-Side album. "Along The Red Ledge" was half the Philly Soul one tended to expect from the duo, the second half was fairly forceful rock. Although it remains one of my all-time favorite H&O albums, it again didn't have a smash hit and the fortunes of Hall and Oates still continued a commercial decline.

But "Along The Red Ledge" maintains a fanatically cultish following because Hall and Oates were still not content to just retread the same formula that RCA obviously expected of them. Despite a fantastic top 40 single in "It's a Laugh" and a couple of songs that sure sounded radio ready, the soulful "I Don't Wanna Lose You," "The Last Time" and the gorgeous "August Day," this disc still didn't bring H&O back to superstar status.

Pity for the folks that passed by in 1978. Intrigued by punk rock, "Alley Katz" (featuring Rick Neilsen of Cheap Trick on guitar) is the biggest blast of guitar to ever be placed on an H&O album. You also get the musical punning of John Oates' "Serious Music," as if to prove once again that he is not just 'the other guy' in the group; it's one of "Red Ledge's" best songs. Hall and Oates obviously thought enough of this album to pull two songs for the "Ultimate" collection, and since RCA seems to be letting it slip back into Out Of Print status, you should "Along The Red Ledge" before it falls back into the abyss.
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on November 2, 1998
This recording, although less of a commercial success than most of their records, reflects some of the finest writing and musicianship the duo has ever put together. With terrific guest appearances from Todd Rundgren, Robert Fripp, and others, you owe it to yourself to have this one in your collection.
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VINE VOICEon August 4, 2004
After the harder rocking "Beauty On a Back Street" failed to generate any hit singles, Daryl Hall and John Oates cut what was basically a double A-Side album. "Along The Red Ledge" was half the Philly Soul one tended to expect from the duo, the second half was fairly forceful rock. Although it remains one of my all-time favorite H&O albums, it again didn't have a smash hit and the fortunes of Hall and Oates still continued a commercial decline.

But "Along The Red Ledge" maintains a fanatically cultish following because Hall and Oates were still not content to just retread the same formula that RCA obviously expected of them. Despite a fantastic top 40 single in "It's a Laugh" and a couple of songs that sure sounded radio ready, the soulful "I Don't Wanna Lose You," "The Last Time" and the gorgeous "August Day," this disc still didn't bring H&O back to superstar status.

Pity for the folks that passed by in 1978. Intrigued by punk rock, "Alley Katz" (featuring Rick Neilsen of Cheap Trick on guitar) is the biggest blast of guitar to ever be placed on an H&O album. You also get the musical punning of John Oates' "Serious Music," as if to prove once again that he is not just 'the other guy' in the group; it's one of "Red Ledge's" best songs. Hall and Oates obviously thought enough of this album to pull two songs for the "Ultimate" collection, and since RCA seems to be letting it slip back into Out Of Print status, you should "Along The Red Ledge" before it falls back into the abyss.
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