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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

American Gothic

David Ackles

1972

American Gothic
Album Summary

American Gothic is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter David Ackles. It was released on July 4, 1972, by record label Elektra. American Gothic was recorded at IBC Sound Recording Studios in London, England. It was produced by Bernie Taupin and conducted by Robert Kirby. In its retrospective review, AllMusic wrote "American Gothic remains one of those great albums that never found its audience. It waits to be rediscovered." American Gothic was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Mojo called it "one of the most beautiful but rarely heard albums of his era".

Wikipedia

Rating

2.52

Votes

10490

Genres

  • Country
  • Singer Songwriter

Reviews

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Sun May 28 2023
1

This reminds me of the shit kids in my high school theatre would listen to. I am not a fan. I guess if something is an “undiscovered classic” that has “yet to find its audience” that might just mean it sucks and people don’t like it 😂

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Sun Aug 20 2023
4

Grandiose, overblown and somewhat ludicrous, I absolutely loved it. What a find!

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Thu Jul 13 2023
1

A bit like a Billy Joel composed Broadway musical. If that sounds appealing to you….god help ya.

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Sat Apr 01 2023
5

"Beefy lips". "Beefy lips" is all they could say to me. It had been sixteen hours waiting, without another word. The worry, the fear, the unknown. I had so many questions, but not one of the doctors who passed me uttered a single sentence other than "beefy lips". My mind was racing, were they dead? A rugged face snapped back from behind a pristine surgical mask and peered over at me. I looked up, hopeful, fearful. The doctor beckoned me over and pulled back the curtain. There lay my beautiful virgin bride, legs wide open. A forest of tangled pubic hair draped over the thickest, chewiest, shiniest set of matching vaginal lips I'd ever laid me eyes on. I was in heaven.

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Tue Mar 28 2023
3

I started listening to this before, and was put off a little. I wasn't sure what the singer was aiming for, but it was obvious he was not going for super-positive. I think his voice reminded me more of Neil Diamond initially, but more... serious? (Not that Neil isn't serious, but it's what the singer was going for.) I switched to something else, and tried again later. The second time I started the album, I enjoyed it more. The songs began to be more... picturesque, I thought of him singing like Leonard Cohen, and I started to appreciate it more. I think if I went through it the first time I would have given it a more negative review, but I kinda got the vibe he was going for. It doesn't mean that I absolutely LOVED it. But still, I appreciated it more. So probably a 2.6, rounding to a 3.

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Fri Mar 31 2023
2

I made the mistake of reading other reviews while listening, and now "over the top Neil Diamond" is just a lingering thought that I can't get out of my head. The vocal affectations and even some of the type of lyrics do very much read as Neil Diamond, but the music combined with the delivery have some kind of almost manic additional quality. Either way, I've never heard anyone else deliver things quite like Neil Diamond, but this is probably the closest I've heard. What I will say is that David Ackles definitely didn't shy away from experimenting and taking risks here. The music is dramatic and could definitely pass as a quirky 70s stage musical; I haven't ever heard anything quite like this outside of musical theater spaces. And while I like musical theater and discovering rare obscurities, and while some of the songs struck me as interesting and even a couple as strangely beautiful, this overall ended up just being kind of not my thing.

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Fri Mar 31 2023
3

The songs on "American Gothic" are a bit like little theater plays. They are richly orchestrated by Elton John's songwriter partner Bernie Taupin, and sometimes contain cabaretesque melodies, but are nevertheless based on the narrative folk style such as that of Woody Guthrie. At times his voice resembles that of Neil Diamond. And I hear a bit of Kurt Weill influences. And that is really not a negative point in this one. Many great contemporary artists I adore such as Tom Waits and Frank Zappa declare to be indebted to the work of this singer/songwriter so I was really quite keen to give this a few good listens. Still, this album leaves me with quite a double feeling. There are a few songs I really quite rate, like "Waiting For The Moving Van" and I can really appreciate the dark undertones of most of the songs, but the combination with the theatrical and at times bombastic musical compositions and orchestrations makes this an album I don't find a pleasure to put on. I hear and understand the quality, but it might not be for me.

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Mon Apr 24 2023
3

It's such a curio. Extra points for being extra weird. Less points for it's amateur dramatics style.

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Thu Feb 29 2024
1

What the actual f**k is this? Improv very local theater? I think he is making this up as he goes along. Yes, this is improv jazz theater. Thankful this is relatively short at just under 44 minutes (of my life). The last song is 10 minutes!!?? No way. Yet another added to the list of 1001 albums I hope to never hear again.

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Tue Mar 28 2023
3

Pretty good, although started to grate on me after additional listens. Might go back to it. Definitely quirky.

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Thu Apr 20 2023
3

A little corny sounding but I appreciated the orchestral stuff and how dramatic it was. The overall sound is super clean, like it could have come out decades later.

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Wed May 17 2023
3

David Ackles a tenté de se dépatouiller comme il le pouvait au milieu de la bouillasse proposée par Robert depuis quelques semaines, sans malheureusement réussir à s'élever suffisament pour atteindre le sacro saint 4/5. De généreux efforts qui sont néammoins appréciés.

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Wed Jan 17 2024
2

Murder ballad lyrics set to Broadway tunes. This is weird

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Wed Jun 19 2024
2

This is almost nearly close to being good music, but it just doesn’t hit. Every time it’s about to build to something good, he switches it up on us. It’s musical edging

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Thu Apr 20 2023
1

This was... really bad. I could leave it at that but I think this album deserves a bit of explanation. The vocals are nothing spectacular, but that's not necessarily a deal breaker. After all, Bob Dylan doesn't have a voice to write home about. And speaking of Bob Dylan, the contents of the lyrics are similar to Dylan's work. There are stories being told, but they're all laid out so explicitly that there's nothing interesting about them. You lose something when you're just retelling a story from beginning to end with no room for inference. Then there's the instrumentals, which at times aren't noticeable, and at other times sound discordant. Ultimately, not as interesting as Ackles probably wanted this album to be. Bored me into not finishing.

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Wed Jun 21 2023
1

A few songs I was okay with but overall just found this very irritating and I kind of hated it.

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Thu Feb 29 2024
1

American Gothic sounds like a low rent Neil Diamond starring in an off-Broadway production full of sea shanties. This album confirms for me that Bernie Taupin’s best work was mostly, if not exclusively, with Elton John. Only regularly laughing out loud sustained me through all 44 minutes of this thing.

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Fri Apr 28 2023
5

10/10 absolutely incredible and so underrated god I wish more people would hear this

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Fri Jun 02 2023
5

BL: never heard of. But read that Costello cites him as a major influence so I am looking forward to it. AL: wow. I thought this was brilliant. Cutting and beautiful song writing, “love’s enough”, “another Friday night”, “family band”, and “Montana song” all have amazing lyrics and the instrumentation is pretty solid too. His gentle yet rough voice really adds and emotional tone to it. Highly recommend FT: “love’s enough”, “Montana song”, “another Friday night”, “family band”, 5/5

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Mon Jun 05 2023
5

American Gothic is sneaky-complete and just and indulgent as the title and first notes indicate. Shades of Scott Walker, clearly and pleasingly, and an immediate songwriter's songwriter feel are highlights. The "American" part is as well-represented, and yet the album ends up feeling close to linear. Explicit references to religion do not a religious experience make, but here they help.

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Thu Jun 08 2023
5

Never heard of him, but what a strong album. Baroque, theatrical. A little bit of Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, and Billy Joel all rolled into one. Spots of the Beach Boys at their "Pet Sounds"-iest too. Has a weak moment or two, but I don't think it's enough to detract from the score. Favorite tracks: "Love's Enough", "Another Friday Night", "Family Band"

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Thu Jul 20 2023
5

surprised by how interesting this album is. i was prepared to dislike it for its showtune aesthetic but the lyrics are great and the music sets the scene so perfectly. definitely heard some proto-springsteen and early elton john (bernie taupin produced). will definitely listen to the whole album again.

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Fri Aug 25 2023
5

Sometimes you get one of those albums you've never heard of, but that you love instantly. Ackles musical theatre song style, coupled with the piano rock and great lyrics (apparently an English major (it shows)), hit a perfect spot for me. I loved it in all its earnest story telling!

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Fri Oct 13 2023
5

So glad to have found this album. The songwriting, the stories, the atmospheres. Vaudeville, Americana, Tom Waits, and the weight of the world. Ended up spending a lot more time with it than I thought I would. Thank you!

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Fri Dec 08 2023
5

So my type of music. Loved it!❤️

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Wed Dec 20 2023
5

Anders, aber ziemlich gut, leise, kreativ, gerne wieder

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Thu Feb 29 2024
5

- Ich hatte wirklich 0,0 Erwartungen (und eigentlich auch keinen Bock) oder auch nur den Hauch einer Ahnung was mich erwartet, außer, dass ich das Albumcover irgendwie cool fand! - Und dann bäm, hats mich krass erwischt und ich fand es einfach uultra geil, hatte zeitweise Gänsehaut und einmal sogar einen kleinen Klos im Hals - So viele kreative Ideen, wunderschöne Melodien, dieses fantastische Storytelling (wenn auch hier und da mal cheesy) die Orchestrale Begleitung, das musicalhafte und eine mega coole Stimme - Ich war erstaunt über die niedrigen Aufrufzahlen - Aber auch zu Lebzeiten scheint David Ackles nie wirklich Erfolg gehabt zu haben - Es handelt sich also wirklich mal um einen echten Geheimtipp! - Der Mann hatte auch eine interessante Biografie, so musste er die Musikkarriere, die nie wirklich eine war, nach einem Autounfall an den Nagel hängen, weil er danach lebenslänglich Armschmerzen beim Pianospielen hatte. Gestroben ist er dann verhältnismäßig jung Anfang 60 an Lungenkrebs. - Vielleicht hat das Lesen dieser Lebensgeschichte beim Hören auch nochmal mehr Emotionen reingepackt - Ich finde es insgesamt einfach ein so unglaublich schönes und von Herzen kommendes Album, dass ich es gerne zu den ganz großen Alben zählen möchte. Aber kaum jemand kennt bzw. kannte den Mann. Nicht zu fassen. So genervt man ja auch von manchen Alben hier mal ist, DANKE 1001 Albums dafür!! Rating: 4,5/5

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Sat Mar 02 2024
5

Boy oh boy... this is a definitive example of an album that should be on this list because I've never heard of David Ackles and I am so glad to hear this before I die! I put this on while trying to work and ended up following along to the lyrics - completely rapt! American Gothic is a searing opening giving us a glimpse into a very dysfunctional marriage. Then Love's Enough follows up with an absolutely beautiful description of falling in love. Pessimistic optimism is a tough wire to walk but Ackles is a master of it. Ballad of the Ship of State is fantastically arranged tragic tale of rescue that leaves you feeling there is no rescue to be had, even if they take you on board. One Night Stand is such a beautiful, perfect song about a beautiful, perfect, fleeting moment that despite everything can never be sustained. There's something truly special about those feelings and this song brought me back to them. Oh, California! doesn't hide it's dark message very well, underpinned as it is with its environmental warning. Add this to my soundtrack for the fall of civilization. Another Friday Night sums up a good portion of my past Friday nights... there were times in my life when this might have made a great signature song... Have I longed for the days when I had religious faith and lived with my family? Simpler times, when things seem so much less complicated? Perhaps less so now that I realized what an illusion that was, but Family Band really captures that wistful feeling. Midnight Carousel is incredibly arranged! And the lyrics! "He left her by the road alone. But that road was going somewhere Worth the price there was to pay." Waiting for the Moving Van captures that crumbling-dream feeling that overtakes us at some of those pivotal moments in life. I'm used to the feeling now but this song poked that wound just a little - and David Ackles reminds me of my humanity yet again. Blues for Billy Whitecloud is perhaps the happiest sounding and most disturbing songs on the album. A rough one... Several months ago I was in Montana and started digging around into some boxes of family photos and heirlooms left to my family from my uncle. Montana Song couldn't have captured that feeling of revisiting my past any better. What a grand way to close this incredible album. After over 900 days of listening to albums on this project a jaded feeling that I've heard it all creeps in... Then something like this appears... So completely unexpected - David Ackles has reconnected me with a lot of feelings today and left me strangely hopeful about life.

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Sat Mar 02 2024
5

As far as I can tell, no one has yet turned this album into a cabaret-style revue à la Jacques Brel is Alive and Well... So I guess I'll have to do it. This album is amazing! Fascinating stories well told and set to compelling and complicated tunes and instrumentation. A masterpiece that I will return to again and again.

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Thu Mar 28 2024
5

I have never heard of David Ackles, and I've been around a long time. He is a troubadour who would be equally as comfortable on the Broadway stage. This is the most American album I have ever heard.

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Tue Mar 28 2023
4

Right from the opening notes, I could tell that this was going to be a different kind of album. David Ackles’ voice sounds like a mix between Neil Diamond and Scott Walker. The arrangements on the title track are quite odd, which added to the appeal. “Love’s Enough” is a nice ballad. The weirdness came back on “Ballad of the Ship of State.” I can see why this album didn’t make any top forty lists. I am really enjoying the ride though. This guy is definitely committing career suicide here, but he’s got some really cool musical transitions on the track. The rest of the album keeps this Broadway inspired sound going. I’m not a huge fan of musicals but I enjoyed the mood he created on here. It’s different than a lot of the singer-songwriters that I’ve heard and did keep my attention through the whole album. “Family Band” almost took it down a star though, but “Midnight Carousel” brought it back on track.

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Fri Mar 31 2023
4

david ackles' american gothic was country with jazz interspersed. some songs even sounded rather orchestral! other times, it was minimal, like with only a piano joining his voice. i enjoyed the mix. ackles enjoyed telling stories through his lyrics--he always had something to sing. i was left with such a feeling of homesickness. ackles keyed into so many emotions without being over the top. his lyrics were the key part of that, too. the whole album had a serene, wistful sense, and it hit a head when it came to "waiting for the moving van" toward the end of the album. "oh, california!" had a jaunty country attitude as ackles described an exciting return journey. "another friday night" puts you firmly by a campfire when camping with that opening harmonica. "love's enough," which absolutely took my breath away, was a softly beautiful song and described the beginnings of love. hymn-like "family band" was the oddball of this album, but with the memories of his family celebrating their faith together. i found myself reminded of leonard cohen, but not the music from his early career. cohen wasn't very country but was lyric heavy.

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Thu May 18 2023
4

This dramatic and literary type of songwriting and singing sounds like a cross between Scott Walker and Gordon Lightfoot — while I don't remember much of it, definitely enjoyed it, so I'm definitely going to need to revisit this album and artist.

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Sun May 28 2023
4

I can see how this is an understated Folk classic. Not quite getting to what I want, but quite enjoyable.

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Sun May 28 2023
4

There is something delightfully vaudeville about this. Even when it isn't fantastic, it's still pretty interesting. It's almost like showtunes for a musical that was never made.

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Thu Jun 15 2023
4

Quite a fun album, the songs have charm - "Oh California" is a banger, and so is the title track and "Blues for Billy Whitecloud" - other tracks are middling, but still a good listen, and a couple, like closer "Montana song" overstay their welcome. It's not a perfect record, but it's a good one.

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Fri Jun 16 2023
4

Did not know anything about this one. I’ll give this another listen sometime.

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Wed Jul 05 2023
4

Het was een uitdagende dag om dit te luisteren maar hoorde wel dat dit heel bijzonder is.

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Wed Aug 30 2023
4

I had never heard about David Ackles before. Based on the Wikipedia page and the first songs of this album, I was ready to consider this album just another folk-like attempt to be a great album and with a final importance only for a few Americans proud of anything produced in the USA between 1970 and 1990 as the "upper" quality among all songs (which is entirely fake). For me, it was worth a maximum of 2 stars. However, some other songs caught my attention when they sounded more like Sinatra-style, jazzy, and big-band songs I usually enjoy more. I also liked the last songs' beautiful instrumental/orchestral work, so my initial assumptions were wrong. Indeed, it can be an attempt to sound important. Still, the variety of styles and interesting instrumental work proved that if it's impossible to achieve it, the dedicated effort is worth it. Maybe it's not an essential album for everyone, but not being perfect and sounding like an honest musical attempt made this (before completely unknown) album important for me.

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Fri Sep 01 2023
4

Hmmmm, he's very Scott Walker, eh? Apparently more influential that listened to directly, so I guess I'm glad this project thrust him into my path! Fave track - "Ballad of the Ship of State", perhaps, or "Midnight Carousel"

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Sun Sep 17 2023
4

Like Nick Cave does a musical? I quite enjoyed the drama of it and the storytelling, although, as ever, didn't listen enough to the words but I know he swapped the milk for booze.

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Mon Sep 18 2023
4

He has a very emotive voice, Midnight Carousel sounds like it could've come from a Sondheim musical. I particularly love his sense of humour!

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Wed Oct 11 2023
4

At first I hated this album. My first impression was that this was from a failed broadway show or some shorty high school musical. But by the time I got to the seventh track, Waiting For The Moving Van, I started to understand the brilliance behind this album. When I got to the final track, the ten minute epic Montana Song I was hooked. I listened to the album two more times. This album is a masterpiece, I ‘ve read a few review that compare David Ackles to a poor man’s Neil Diamond. My wife said as much. ND is great at what he does, but ND couldn’t do this. He could never each this level of uniqueness and disjointed chaotic beauty. I might have to start going to more of my local high schools musicals..

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Wed Oct 11 2023
4

This is Lite FM music. Lite FM is a radio station in NYC that plays midtempo, feel good, elevator-type music. I don’t mean that to be insulting. There’s a place for music like this for sure. Songs like Love’s Enough are comforting and sweet. They give you hope. Ballad of the Ship of State is more dramatic. It reminds me of a Broadway musical. Maybe off-Broadway. One Night Stand takes us back to Lite FM, but still sounds as if it belongs in the lineup for a musical. As does Oh, California! Then comes Family Band, taking us to church in a small town where everybody knows everybody and nobody locks their doors. Somebody should make a musical called American Gothic about small town, post-war America. All the music they need is right here on this album.

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Thu Oct 26 2023
4

very much like broadway harry chapin

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Fri Oct 27 2023
4

I had never heard of this album, or David Ackles. But I'll definitely listen to it again.

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Fri Nov 03 2023
4

Never heard this guy. Just one word. Fantastic.

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Tue Nov 07 2023
4

It's the perfect mix of Tom Waits and Randy Newman, with a touch of musical theatre. Unexpectedly brilliant lost album!

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Sun Nov 12 2023
4

Sraight forward story telling tike this than really bridge the the gap between musical interest and listening value. This was cool

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Mon Nov 13 2023
4

Listened to this while playing Return to Dark Tower solo. I have never heard of David Ackles, so this was a completely new experience for me. As a pianist, I was immediately taken by the piano work throughout the album. It sounds like it would have been a lot of fun to play. I really enjoyed everything I heard. The arrangements were fun and interesting. I always hear lyrics last, and I feel like there was a lot of lyrical gems throughout that I'd need a second listen to appreciate. I enjoyed the one-night stand song more than I thought I would have. I'm giving this album a 4, though it may be closer to a 3.5 if possible.

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Wed Nov 15 2023
4

Reminds me of a less flashy more folky Neil Diamond.

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Tue Nov 28 2023
4

Great album, a wonderful suprise. Will definitely be listening to this many more times

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Sun Dec 10 2023
4

This was a very interesting album that combines a vaudeville background with a contemporary pop style. Bernie Taupin’s production ensures that the songwriting is front and center. David Ackles is a very thoughtful songwriter and musician who lends a sense of theatricality to his work. Elvis Costello is right to state that Ackles’ work should be better known.

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Mon Dec 11 2023
4

I have a soft spot for these lost masterpiece type albums, so I'm glad to see this included on the list. Although revisiting the likes of The Beatles and The Stones, et al. is a great thing to do, spending time with albums like this, that sort of fell through the cracks in one way or another, is the more rewarding part of the 1001 experience for me. Although I will most likely never come back to this album again, it is one I am glad to have heard.

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Thu Dec 14 2023
4

Excellent songwriting and beautiful arrangements. Highly recommend.

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Sun Dec 17 2023
4

love's enough is unironically a good song goofy ass ballad of the ship of state one night stand made me sad idk why Nice christian anthem in family band LOL midnight carousel is a very disney villain type song waiting for the moving van made me sad but this one is more directly sad billy whitecloud works for peanuts, give him peanuts and he goes wild. oh wait this song is just racist? or a reference? yeah i kinda fw this kinda of thing, little corny, lil dramatic but idk probably a 3.5/5 but closer to a 4 than a 3

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Wed Dec 20 2023
4

Doesn't the world already have one Paul Walker? Do we really need another one? It turns out that I do, at least. It's easy to understand how and why this is something of a cult classic. I'm sure there will be many days when I'm just not feeling this, although I find "Love's Enough" to be one of the more underrated ballads ever. Would I regret branding this with a 4 tomorrow? Maybe. I might think it's a 2 in a week. It's clearly not everyone's cup of tea, but I'll take this over that sad sack Nick Drake anyday.

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Thu Dec 28 2023
4

December 27th again HL: title track, “Family Band”, “Love’s Enough”, “Ballad of the Ship of State”, “Montana Song” Well this was delightful The title and rustic cover did nothing to advertise the orchestrations and theatricalism on display, but also fits perfectly with Ackles’ pastoral ballads (“Love’s Enough”)

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Fri Jan 19 2024
4

Scott Walker vibes. I kinda love this. I don't know why at all. I find it very calming. Fave Tracks: American Gothic, Blues for Billy Whitehead, Montana Song 4/5

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Wed Jan 24 2024
4

the corner of scott walker and neil diamond!

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Thu Jan 25 2024
4

Why is this so good? It's crazy how good this actually is. Idk about the 10 minute song about Montana though. This whole album is pretty odd

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Thu Feb 01 2024
4

Awesome Album! Surprise favorite. Not rock though?

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Fri Feb 02 2024
4

Daring, dramatic, at times campy and at others stunningly gorgeous. There are moments when the camp turns into cringe and their are others were the ingredients just don't quite work, but I appreciate that Ackles went for something a bit different here. Love's Enough, One Night Stand, Another Friday Night, and Montana Song were real standouts for me.

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Fri Feb 02 2024
4

I was surprised how much I liked this album. A very unique and interesting album that will stick with me for a while. I enjoyed the frantic nature of some of the songs with all of the shifts in tempo and instrumentation. If I liked this genre more, this may have been one of my favorite albums.

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Sun Feb 04 2024
4

Well.. that was an interesting album. Probably worth another listen.

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Mon Feb 19 2024
4

Nick Cave and Bertolt Brecht do this shtick better. But some of these are fun. The lyrics are often fun, and it's nice to have this vibe in an fairly straightforward vocal style with an acoustic band instead of overpowering electronic atmosphere. Honestly, it grew on me as it went. A Sondheim feel to it, as well.

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Thu Feb 29 2024
4

- Ich stehe ja hart auf so musical-artige Platten. Bin deswegen ja auch Turisas und Blind Guardian-Fan - Ich war die ganze Zeit sehr unterhalten. Natürlich gibt es bei solchen Konzepten immer Parts, die mehr der Idee der Platte und der zu erzählenden Geschichte dienen, als dass sie musikalisch sein sollen. - Dennoch waren viele Stücke dabei, die ich richtig gefühlt habe. Verbunden mit schönen Dramaturgien und (ich denke) sehr autobiografischen Texten waren der größte Teil der Songs sehr mitreißend - Um das jetzt komplett abzufeiern, wars mir leider etwas zu Piano-lastig und ein paar Stücke/Parts etwas schwächer. Alles in allem aber ein tolles bewegendes Album 4/5

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Sat Mar 02 2024
4

This one had me for the first half. Not a lover of it, but it was kind of unusual and fun to listen to. By the end, it had overstayed is welcome for me though.

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Sat Mar 02 2024
4

Oh my, this was dramatic, wasn't it?

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Thu Mar 28 2024
4

This reminds me of seeing a great feat of accomplishment that I have absolutely no interest in other than the fact that I almost always appreciate and want to support people who pour their hearts into whatever they’re doing, like the time I saw the giant corn castle in Nebraska or when I visited Foamhenge in Virginia.

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Thu Mar 28 2024
4

Absolutely LOVE how weird this is. Ackles’ voice is [chef’s kiss]. It’s funny, strange, so jaunty in places it’s almost Vaudevillian in its tongue-in-cheekiness storytelling. Tender, brutal, raw, heavy as hell—at least on paper. The words are all there. And the frothy emotions are too. That jauntiness. But I don’t *feel* the weight. Maybe it’s just the headspace I’m in listening to it right now but it feels like some connection is missing to the emotional register the lyrics claim to be selling. A specific example. In “Another Friday night,” he says, “I never stayed in one place long unless I was doing time.” But he sings this in his Broadway voice. And that would be fine if all you knew were Broadway voices, but we also have Tom Waits and Willie Nelson, and even if they didn’t actually do time, they sure as hell sounded like they could have. Ackles sounds like he’s in a musical about a guy who went to jail for rustling cattle “out west.” He’s like Carey Grant doing Oklahoma when you could have Johnny Cash putting a gun in your face. And it’s like that for all his stuff. Even the sad alcoholic shit he sings about, Indians blowing their lives up and fathers trading the milk in for gin. All stuff that usually hits real hard for me. But here it feels like an actor walking around with a half-empty pint bottle, taking swigs of weak tea. That’s the only reason I can’t go five on this one. Because honestly I think he’s kind of a genius. Just one without emotions. An Asperger’s Cat Stevens. A sociopath Tom Waits. And probably, honestly, the reason I’ve never heard this album before. It’s all well and good to be a jester Elton John tap dancing on the hood of a player piano in a Charlie Chaplin hat but when you’re competing against the actual Elton John, your market share is gonna be what Bill Ackles’ was.

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Mon Apr 01 2024
4

I guess he really wanted to make his own musical? This album was so strange but fun. I laughed a lot listening to the first song, but a few songs in I started getting really into the story!

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Thu Apr 04 2024
4

Beautiful and atmospheric Americana. As a fan of musicals and modern classical music, there are some distinct harmonic influence from these places. I also love how it's not all corny story telling, but blending colourful instrumentation with sincere beauty of the musical composition. And the clarity of his lyrical delivery makes me ponder why this guy has become so forgotten.

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Thu Apr 11 2024
4

Hear me out: Let's go out and find a Neil Diamond impersonator, get him *really* drunk and/or high, and introduce him to Corky St. Clair (of Waiting for Guffman fame). Together, they could work on the musical for Blaine, Missouri's bicentennial celebration. And they'll call it, "American Gothic." It'll be great! Whaddya say? (What a deeply weird album...)

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Thu Apr 25 2024
4

Thought this was gunna be another sleepy folky jam but this ripped! Loved the crazy orchestration throughout. Like a Disney movie almost. Pretty unique, happy to now say I'm familiar with David Ackles!

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Thu May 02 2024
4

Piano ballads of a harsher kind. It's not Nick Cave yet but worthwhile enough. Only over time you notice that the album would've been more with fewer tracks.

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Wed May 15 2024
4

on one hand, i didn’t love it. on the other hand, ackles’ storytelling and lush Broadway arrangements were mesmerizing and the album flew past.

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Thu May 16 2024
4

Enjoyed this album … sad & reminiscent & more like a life story, though. Could be a Bway show with the words & accompanying orchestra type music. Favorite was “Family Band”.

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Thu May 16 2024
4

I really liked this in an operatic kind of way. Simpsons: No

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Thu May 16 2024
4

Felt like I was listening to a musical at times, but the overall experience was pleasant and I liked how each song told a story. I’m not sure when or where I would ever listen to this again, but as a piece of art I have no real criticisms.

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Fri May 17 2024
4

A lusciously orchestrated cabaret musical set in America's old west. This album contains a set of vignettes that cover such classic topics as prostitution, falling in love, racism, hook up culture, life on the road, domestic terrorism, California, Montana, and cannibalism.

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Mon May 20 2024
4

Very good, bit dated but solid. 3.75

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Thu May 30 2024
4

Great songwriting, musical theatre-esque vibes! I would have never known about this album if not for this, but I'm so glad I was able to find it through here.

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Fri May 31 2024
4

I like it, a solid 4. Singing his heart out. I understand why some people think it's schmaltzy.

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Wed Jun 12 2024
4

This sounds very much like Scott Walker. A curious little discovery. Turns out this guy was popular amongst the Brits so unsurprising it turns up here. A nice discovery.

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Sun Jul 07 2024
4

Really enjoyed the listens. Beautiful story telling, orchestral pieces, and piano playing. Not complex, but incredibly moving. 4/5 only because it's not something I'd listen to often, but I really love that I found this album.

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Thu Jul 18 2024
4

I liked this album. Nothing I would have ever listened to or plan to listen to again. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the ride. I played out an entire musical in my head while listening. Family Band came unexpectedly. A bit too Christian for me, but I just accepted. Midnight Carousel was very cool and dramatic. I even appreciated the 10-minute Montana Song and could have stuck with it longer. Overall, it was a pleasant surprise and experience. The album title doesn't fit the vibe at all.

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Thu Jul 18 2024
4

What a nice discovery! It reminds me a lot of Leonard Cohen: the poetic but simple lyrics, the gentle musical arrangements accompanying, and a voice that emerges from a place of truth. “Love’s Enough” is a truly accomplished feat.

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Sat Jul 20 2024
4

I can see why this is considered a great album that didn’t find an audience because it has all the components of a hit 70s singer songwriter album but it’s very orchestral and the lyrics arent about the Vietnam war or whatever. While I wouldn’t say it’s *great* it’s still pretty solid by my singer songwriter standards in that I normally don’t like them and I liked this one. Another Friday night was my fav and I just generally liked the guys voice.

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Tue Mar 28 2023
3

Couldn't quite place what his sound reminded me of on the title / opening track. But the first few piano bars of the second track Love's Enough made me think Neil Diamond, and his vocals on that track solidified that belief for me. Once I got there, my ears pricked up. I really loved that second track; ditto Another Friday Night and Waiting for the Moving Van. One Night Stand wasn't bad; maybe a bit too much cheese or Sinatra ripoff. Keep the composition but change the lyrics. Family Band was a good start, a bit meh by the end. Ballad of the Ship of State and Midnight Carousel was a bit too much pomp. Oh California was the right amount of pomp. It feels like a 3.5 but I don't know if there's enough to round up.

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Tue Mar 28 2023
3

This album is really not my type of music, and I found it quite dull. I could see why people would like this. There are lots of other albums that it sounds like, but it also predates a lot of those albums, so it deserves credit for that. To me, this is basically what Leonard Cohen would sound like if he wasn't as good a poet and had less interesting backing music 3/5 I think he deserves some credit for taking some chances and experimenting in these songs, but at the same time I was bored the entire time I was listening to this album

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