The best original John Denver album
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 10/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John never liked to be typecast but he was a country boy at heart and it was never more obvious than in this album. Whatever you may think of his other albums, this album is country. It was his best-selling album and it contains his best-selling single, Annie's song, and my favorite song of his, Back home again, together with many other classic songs.
Annie's song was a number one pop hit in both Britain and America. John had many pop hits in America but he never had another solo hit in the UK and only had one other (minor) UK hit via a duet recording (with Placido Domingo) of Perhaps love.
The ultimate homecoming song, Back home again is one of my all-time favorite songs. Several country singers covered it although those covers are now mostly hard to find. I particularly like Dottie West's version though the chances of that ever becoming available on CD seem remote. But John's own version is outstanding and was a huge American pop hit.
A live version of Thank God I'm a country boy provided John with another American number one pop hit, but it is the original studio version that you will find on this album. Grandma's feather bed is a fun song about childhood memories. Other outstanding songs include Sweet surrender, Eclipse and This old guitar, but every song here is brilliant.
This new versions makes the album sound better than ever. The two bonus tracks are alternate versions of songs that were already part of the main album. While they were doing this, they could have included the single version of Thank God I'm a country boy - they didn't, but that's a minor quibble.
This was one of the first albums I ever bought when I started collecting records on vinyl and it remains one of my favorite albums of all time."
The folkie side of Country Rock
James Cantrell | Tennessee | 06/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When this album, the best and most consistent in John Denver's career, was released, I was just getting hooked on Southern Rock. And though compared to The Allman Brothers Band or Lynyrd Skynyrd, or even The Marshall Tucker Band or CDB, Denver came off as naive and goofy, perhaps even limp-wristed, his mastery of his material and his joy at presenting it made me brave enough to call upon friends to hear this album following, say, ZZ Top's Tres Hombres. Even while promoting Waylon's Dreaming My Dreams and Willie's Red-Headed Stranger, I remained a devoted fan of Back Home Again.
If I were to be able to choose 60 songs for a 3-disc John Denver anthology, I would select 9 from the Back Home again album: the title cut, 'Grandma's Feather Bed,' 'Matthew,' 'Thank God I'm a Country Boy,' 'The Music is You,' 'Annie's Song,' 'Eclipse,' 'Sweet Surrender,' and 'This Old Guitar.' Yes, three-fourths of this album is among the best 60 songs of John Denver's career, and the remaining three songs on the album aint chopped liver.
If you wish to own only 1 John Denver album, you should purchase Back Home Again rather than John Denver's Greatest Hits or even Definitive All-Time Greatest Hits.
The bonus track alternate versions of 'Matthew' and 'This Old Guitar' will be welcomed by anyone who loves those excellent songs."
Travel BACK HOME AGAIN With John Denver
Erik North | San Gabriel, CA USA | 12/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To hear it from the "hip" music critics of the press over the decades, you'd think John Denver was a pansy, that he never wrote anything of the kind of significance that would have merited a place in "their" world. He was a product of the same Greenwich Village folk music scene of the 1960s that gave us Dylan, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul, and Mary (who would turn Denver's "Leaving On A Jet Plane" into a #1 hit in December 1969); but instead of writing songs about protest, revolution, and the like, he wrote songs about life, love, family, and nature. So at a time when young people were railing against anything "establishment", Denver chose to talk about the land.
So much for those "hip" critics, of course, because the man clearly touched the lives of millions who were looking for a way back to the basics, a common theme of country, folk, and rock artists in the 1970s. And all of those elements found their way into BACK HOME AGAIN, the biggest-selling studio album of Denver's career. Denver can be accused of being somewhat corny and cliched, of course ("Grandma's Feather Bed"), and a good deal of BACK HOME AGAIN is folk/country in nature, even occasionally bluegrass ("Thank God I'm A Country Boy", in its original studio version), having little appeal to the Nashville crowd of the time, and not quite rock-orientated enough even for fans of the Eagles or Linda Ronstadt.
But BACK HOME AGAIN makes it clear that Denver's worldwide success was no accident. "Annie's Song", about his then-wife, was a massive #1 hit in the summer of 1974 (Denver's biggest hit single); the title track, which has reportedly recently been covered by Trisha Yearwood, was a big #5 hit in October 1974; and "Sweet Surrender", thanks to its use in the Disney film THE BEARS AND I, hit the Top 15 at the start of 1975.
The critics may keep saying that the man, whom we tragically lost way too soon in 1997, will never be hip, but fans of his, and lovers of the folk/country style that he personified clearly know otherwise. John Denver is a national treasure; and BACK HOME AGAIN is crystal-clear proof of that."