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Customer Review

74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When a 28-year-old debut album is the artist's best..., January 26, 2001
This review is from: Home Free (Audio CD)
Don't get me wrong: I'm a diehard Fogelberg fan. I last saw him in concert in 2000, the eleventh time I'd been to one of his shows. I own all his albums (except "Something Old, New, Borrowed and Some Blues" and the recent Christmas CD, which got an emphatic "Don't bother" from some friends who are equally ardent fans). I wore out the grooves on my Fogelberg albums in the 1970s learning to play guitar. But I'm also honest about someone who was for so long my musical idol: Nearly 20 albums and 30 years later, "Home Free" -- recorded in Nashville when he was a 22-year-old session man -- is arguably Fogelberg's best work.
From the first ethereal strings of "To the Morning" to the lingering ending of "The River," this album stands as a quintessential example of Fogelberg's talent. There is little artifice here, musically or lyrically. (For all their strength, albums like "Netherlands" and "The Innocent Age" sometimes nearly topple from bombast.) In the context of such a great album, it's easy to embrace clunker lines like "far too many stars have fell on me" as idiom. The production -- and bass playing -- by Norbert Putnam is outstanding (he was also doing top-notch work with Eric Andersen at the time in Nashville). And Fogelberg's voice, though not as mature as in the middle years of his career before smoking roughened it, is pristine. (Listen to the last note of "Wysteria.")
It's sad that after "The Innocent Age" in 1981 fine songs on Fogelberg albums became the exception rather than the rule. But, like all his fans, it irks me that he has been pigeon-holed by ballads like "Longer" and "Leader of the Band" and gets airtime only on easy-listening stations. Dan Fogelberg is a phenomenal talent, and I hope someday that he gets the credit he deserves. Meanwhile, I'll keep listening to classics like "Stars" and "Long Way Home" and "Looking for a Lady." For any artist, this album would be legacy enough.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 10, 2009 9:13:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 10, 2009 9:18:22 PM PST
J. M. Howie says:
Right On! You must have been 'coming of age' at the same time I was. "Home Free" was a watershed - different from anything else at the time - and the very thing that got my guitar playing on a new plane....
That album changed everything. Oh, and I have one of the few copies of DF live in Champaign before he made it - you can see the talent......
I just LOVE his music - like he got in my soul and heart and figured out exactly how to tell it out loud....
The world is poorer without him - just like it was when his Dad left this world....
The "Leader of the Band" is tired and his eyes are growin' old....
Just like when My Dad left this world for Heaven...
"But his blood runs through
My instrument
And his song is in my soul --"

Posted on Apr 9, 2009 11:23:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 9, 2009 11:26:43 PM PDT
W. Sheppard says:
You're right Tim---Fogelberg IS now unfortunately pigeon-holed to "Longer" and "Leader Of The Band". Sure I like them, but the first songs I ever heard from him were some of the harder rocking tracks from Phoenix, such as the title track, "Face The Fire" and "Wishing On The Moon". All of those (and even "Longer") got considerable airplay on ROCK stations in 1979. Just try to find a ROCK station that will play Fogelberg anymore. You can't! And in 1984, there was "The Language Of Love" which also got lots of attention. I heard one other track "Go Down Easy" get modest airplay in 1985 and didn't hear anything new on the radio from him since. Seems like he just dropped off the radar after 1985.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2010 8:12:36 AM PDT
D.C. Hanoy says:
i am of the very strong opinion that dan peaked early, or maybe just burned out on the type music he was writing and playing. i'm not much of a fan of his later work (post-70's) -- a few good songs scattered about on highly inconsistent albums. but...those first 4-5 albums, with only a few misses, were really great; the first two in particular.

Posted on Feb 5, 2011 4:27:02 PM PST
It's been 10 years since you wrote this - I hope one friend has talked you into getting Dan's Christmas Album by now. If not, it's superb - not a "don't bother" album in the least. RIP Dan.
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Location: San Marcos, CA USA

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