America (2nd Amendment)

Since the nice Mr David O’List has commented on one of my previous posts about his early ground-breaking band I thought I’d link to the You Tube rendering of America (2nd Amendment) performed by the Nice – credited on the label to Sondheim, Bernstein, Emerlist Davjack – so you could hear what we were both rabbitting on about.

The embedding is of the long version as on the single. There is no video with the clip; just a picture of a US flag. I avoided the shorter four minute cut (which was given a play on Radio 2’€™s Sounds Of The Sixties a couple of months back) as it has, to my ears, a clumsy edit about ¾ of the way through.

The single is sub-titled 2nd Amendment. The second amendment to the US constitution is of course the famous one about the right to bear arms.

I was at school at the time of the single’s release and my music teacher expressed interest in the “rock version of the New World symphony” that he’€™d heard about -€“ as I said in my previous post about it the track quotes from Dvorak – so I brought America in and he played it to the class. All went well until the spoken bit at the end where he went ballistic about “€œruining a perfectly good piece of music with political rubbish.”€ So much for social comment.

Not only was this single over twice as long as was then common, the track was also, except for the spoken outro, an instrumental. By that time in the sixties, unlike earlier in the decade, instrumental releases had become unusual and hits extremely rare. A doubly brave decision, then.

This, it seems, is where prog rock started.

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  1. Onebrow

    I always find myself conflicted with older music. The song is undoubtedly very good and I enjoy listening to it, but the production and mixing just can’t live up to modern standards.

    It’s also interesting that to this day (true) social comment remains unpopular in popular music.

  2. jackdeighton

    They only had 4-track recording or something ridiculous like that.

  3. Onebrow

    I know and it’s a real shame. You can’t help but wonder what the older artists would be capable of in the modern era (assuming they were given the chance to relive their creative prime).

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