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Country Life [Vinyl] Limited Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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

  • Vinyl (June 16, 2009)
  • limited_edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Virgin
  • ASIN: B001G5ZO9U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,745 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
For my money the finest period in the stellar career of Roxy Music is the middle one, sandwiched between their Eno-infused art rock origins and the more pop-oriented later years. This era began with the brilliant, brooding masterpiece Stranded and concluded with the catchy though uneven Siren. Between them lay the band's classic rocker Country Life. Probably best known for its controversial album cover, Country Life nevertheless delivers a steady stream of unabashed rock 'n roll that represents the band's musical virtuosity at its finest. Phil Manzanera's hot guitar licks and Bryan Ferry's cool crooning perfectly offset one another while Andy Mackay's chunky riffs on oboe and sax, Eddie Jobson's stylish keyboards and Paul Thompson's steady thumping keep the tempo offbeat in typical Roxy fashion.
From the opening soaring strains of "The Thrill of it All", Country Life sets off with a soaring energy the band rarely displayed before or after this release. Even when the pace slows, as it does for the hypnotic "Bitter-Sweet", you can cut the group's creative tension with a knife. Country Life is not merely for the highbrow art-rock set, either. I've turned folks who wouldn't know the Velvet Underground from Velveeta onto this record, and it's due mostly to the hard-driving rock standards such as "Out of the Blue", "All I Want is You" and "If It Takes All Night". One for the ages.
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Format: Audio CD
This is Roxy Music's most overtly "rock" album. Part of the reason for this is that the group was writing less complex material. Whether this was as a reaction to their prior art-rock leanings, an attempt to become more commercial, or because Bryan Ferry was hearkening back to his soul and pop roots is immaterial; it's probably a little of all the above.
Another factor in this was that the band, at this point, had a very strong power trio at its core. Guitarist Phil Manzanera and drummer Paul Thompson (who is not called "The Great Paul Thompson" by fans for nothing!) were joined by studio bassist John Gustafson. His heavy, muscular bass playing seems to drive Manzanera and Thompson to new heights, especially on "The Thrill of it All," "All I Want is You," "Casanova" and "Bittersweet."
Musically the album is a fairly varied affair, ranging from hard rock to swirling psychedelia ("Out of the Blue" with Eddie Jobson's flanged violin/keyboards, is classic) to more-or-less straight blues and almost-country stylings. All of it works, even the odd "Triptych," which seems to be Ferry's attempt at writing a hymn.
One of the more interesting things about this record is that it is one of the most ripped-off of all Roxy Music albums. For example, Duran Duran built their entire career around rewriting "The Thrill of it All." And the creepy "Bittersweet," with its deliberately maudlin Brecht/Weill opening and the jarring 1930s-Berlin-on-acid section, was stolen lock, stock and barrel by Roger Waters (and bloated beyond endurance) to create the last quarter of the Pink Floyd's "pity-me" epic, "The Wall." As in most cases, the original leaves the imitators looking pale.
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Format: Audio CD
If you didn't know anything about Roxy Music in 1974 & by chance walked into a concert on the Country Life tour, you would have thought these guys were one of the best straight-ahead hard-rocking bands in the world. Unfortunately, the buzz Roxy got in the U.S. effectively convinced most folks that Roxy was some artsy, difficult band that should play in conservatories instead of arenas. As a result, NO ONE HEARD THEM HERE!
Well, almost no one. I caught them in Boston at a small hall that was mostly empty. You could tell they were not real happy about the size of the crowd, but they proceeded to rip through most of Country Life and some of their beloved uptempo early stuff. Rockers like "The Thrill Of It All," "All I Want Is You," & "Prairie Rose" with barely a trace of irony. All at a loud & breakneck pace that bordered on frightening.
Since that Roxy never resurfaced after Country Life, this album is all the more essential. The predominant mood here is set by the pounding drums of Paul Thompson & Phil Manzanera's guitar work. Incredibly, there is even a straight-up blues ("If It Takes All Night") with Bryan Ferry blowing a credible harp solo. It also has one of the very best Roxy songs ever, "Out Of The Blue," perhaps the only song featuring violin & oboe that is capable of taking your head off at high volume levels. A great, great album.
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Format: Audio CD
For anyone who doubts and scoffs at the thought of post-Eno Roxy Music, this album is bound to put a deafening end to anyone's complaining. Roxy, simply put, rocks on this album.

The Thrill Of It All: Beginning with a heavy guitar by Mazanera, this opener is a fantastic rush into the world Roxy has created on Country Life. Leaving behind the keyboard driven sound Roxy often had with Eno, this song rips into full blown guitar-driven rock, followed by the delightful and unique sound of the electric violin. The electric aspect of the violin sums up the electrifying sounds the album has to offer.

Three And Nine: A slower, more melody driven tune that might seem a bit dull compared to the opener, but the song is just so pleasant and mysterious that one can't help but like it. It has a playful seductive quality, as if one can imagine Ferry winking suggestively while he sings.

All I Want Is You: The song that brings down the house on the album. A pure rush of lust and love, this song has the guitars driving just as crazily as the object of Bryan's affection must have been driving him. Just a classic rock n' roll song, with a fresh new sound! The best thing about Roxy's music during this era is that it so heavily steeped in rock n' roll, but doesn't have that droning 1970s feel that its contemporaries do. It's a fresh, new experience into the sound, and an exhilarating one at that.

Out Of The Blue: This song swirls in, right out of the previous one, and takes you on a fabulous ride. The time changes make it a truly unique experience, and one that is never boring, no matter how many times you hear it.

If It Takes All Night: The classic 1950s, rockabilly homage song that reflects those on their previous albums.
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Remastered version
I suspect that the remastered sound is considerably better, although I can't speak for this CD specifically. The sound quality on the vinyl album, which I bought in 1976, left something to be desired: on several tracks, the density of the arrangements caused the music to come across like an... Read More
Jun 18, 2007 by Glenn Richards |  See all 4 posts
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