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Genre: Popular Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 9-FEB-1993
Elegant Country Rock CD Filled with Memorable Tunes
Tim McCoy | Etiwanda, California United States | 08/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Great, great album, about 7 or maybe 8 of the songs could have been big hits if the record company had given them the kind of a push the Eagles got. I recall so clearly the first time I bought this as a vinyl album when it first came out (I think that was about '75 or '76), and I played it at a rather high volume in my parents' living room in La Verne, California, and then "Kansas City Southern" came on. My Dad came rushing in from the back yard with an ear-to-ear smile and his eyes opened as wide as manhole covers and yelled "Whoo-whoo, who are those guys?" Every time the pedal steel player plucked out that railroad train horn sound, my Dad smiles broadly and yells out "Whoo-whoo, whoo-whoo." He was so incredibly happy; he'd been a signal maintainer for about 15 years on the Boston & Albany and after that on the New York Central railroad back in New England, and that tune struck a very resonant note in his memory. He had previously not been too impressed with the kind of rock n' roll I liked, but from that point on we got a lot closer on a lot of music. That day we sat down together and listened to this entire album and were stunned by its awesome combination of beautiful original ballads ("The Runner") and great up-tempo tunes ("Two-Lane Highway" and "Pickin' to Beat the Devil") and funny songs ("I'll Fix Your Flat Tire, Meryl") and sneaky shuffles ("Kentucky Moonshine"). We marvelled at the splendid musicianship (matchless harmony lead guitars and harmonies between lead guitar and pedal steel), the great lead voices (George Ed Powell, Michael Reilly, Larry Goshorn), and always the sweet high lonesome harmony vocals. I think we listened to "Kansas City Southern" at least 10 times that day. No matter what the "in vogue" recording medium might be, I'll always possess and love this album. You definitely have to buy this one. The harmonies are as good as any Byrds, CSN&Y, Eagles, or Poco. In the 80's I had the 8-track, in the 90's the cassette, and now I have 2 CDs, one for the car and one for home. My Dad passed away last March of 2002, but every time I put this album on my CD player, he comes back to visit me for a few moments and then I'm driving down the road going "Whoo-whoo, whoo-whoo.""
A DEFINING MOMENT IN COUNTRY ROCK ; A CLASSIC
T. Sheridan | Floral Park , NY | 09/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1975 , the country rock movement was at something of a crossroads. The Eagles soared with One Of These Nights, but later in the year would drastically change their sound and personnel.The New Riders Of The Purple Sage were, in essence, finished.The Byrds had already disbanded.The Flying Burrito Brothers had again reorganized and were clearly on the downside of their career.Poco again was dealing with personnel changes and was struggling to recapture what they had established in the early 70's.
Pure Prairie League was also at a crossroads. Craig Fuller had been gone for a few years, the band's first two LP's, despite some terrific music, failed to generate the enthusiasm it so richly deserved.RCA did a miserable effort promoting them and dropped them when Fuller left.The band, just resigned by RCA, had toured for two years without a contract and built up a strong fan base. New lead guitarist ,singer/songwriter Larry Goshorn was added to the band joining George Ed Powell , John David Call, Mike Reilly ,Mike Connor and Billy Hinds, all of whom had been together for years and were well aware of Goshorn ,who had the reputation of being the premier guitarist in Cincinnati and surrounding areas. He previously recorded with THE SACRED MUSHROOM.
On TWO LANE HIGHWAY , the band draws heavily on it's diversified musical roots: rock ,country, bluegrass and the blues,all superbly fused into one exciting and invigorating sound. PPL's tight , rich harmonies are always present. The musicianship is exceptional on all levels.In addition to Goshorn , George Ed Powell emerges here as a extremely crafty and gifted singer/songwriter after being in Fuller's shadow the first two LP's. Reilly lays down some strong ,imaginative bass lines and also establishes himself as a vocalist , while Hinds shows a versatility and professionalism on the drums that all to often is taken for granted , given the exceptional music here. Connor adds a creative touch on the piano, a forceful rock approach when called upon or seamlessly blending in at times with a much more eloquent touch. He can do it all-and he does it here. Call serves notice , for those who were still unaware after the debut LP, that he is the premier pedal steel man in country rock. Simply amazing, he can almost single handedly turn any song into something truly special.His "twin leads " with Goshorn became a PPL trademark as they scorched their way to success. At times , they almost blended into one ,an approach above and beyond their country rock peers.
Goshorn's addition proved to be a major factor in the extreme change of fortune for PPL. It was make or break time for PPL when they entered the studio in late 1974. This time PPL would not be denied. Goshorn's title cut exemplified what PPL was all about: driving country rock with superb musicianship all the way around. The song generated huge airplay and catapulted PPL into the national spotlight-the LP went to # 24 on Billboard ,no easy task for country rockers,and would be PPL's highest charting LP. Goshorn's title tune and the LP itself provided the spark which rekindled the past and lit up the future for PPL ,as they were now at the forefront of country rock scene where they would remain until they disbanded in the 80`s. Goshorn came up huge, with 5 top flight songs. The title cut , TWO LANE HIGHWAY ,captures you at your first listening and stays with you. In this case it stays 30 years , a classic country rocker. JUST CANT BELIEVE IT ( with Emmy Lou Harris ) found it's way to the country charts , opening another avenue of fans, the vocals superb. HARVEST has a harder edge to it , with Call's steel a driving upbeat force. It's another example of PPL's ability to shift gears and lose nothing while doing it. In KENTUCKY MOONSHINE , Goshorn's love of the blues rings through.Written with Chet Atkins in mind , PPL brings him in for some terrific guitar work. MEMORIES is an easy going ballad sung with passion by Goshorn and is another fine example of the band's tight and appealing musicianship.
Powell's RUNNER AND SISTER'S KEEPER put him up front and center. The secret was out as Powell emerged on this LP. He showcases his penchant for strong , crafty lyrics and proves to be equally adept as a vocalist. Both songs are of the laid back variety , excel musically , and are beautiful productions. GIVE US A RISE has Powell in a more upbeat tempo , as the harmonies ,guitars and steel blend in seamless efforts extremely effectively. PICKIN' TO BEAT THE DEVIL has the band in a rousing bluegrass mode, with Powell's vocals ,Goshorn`s guitar, Connor's piano all ripping it up. Call forsakes the steel on this one, treating us to some fine banjo pickin' in this fast moving ,top notch effort.
This album also unleashed yet another weapon in PPL's vast arsenal: Mike Reilly.The driven ,charismatic leader of PPL since early '73 ( he hired Goshorn and later would bring in an unknown youngster, Vince Gill), Reilly's business acumen was exceeded only by his vocals/musicianship.Like Powell and Goshorn , he also could easily be lead singer in almost any band. His lead and harmony vocals were yet another example of PPL's diversity and originality. On I'LL CHANGE YOUR FLAT TIRE MERLE , Reilly takes his turn on lead vocals and PPL again comes out swinging. A humorous , tongue in cheek tribute to Merle Haggard , PPL gives a wonderful rendition , and again, all band members have their moments. KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN ( PPL's opening at every concert ) blazes from the start and picks up speed. With Reilly again on vocals, Call's steel ,simulating a train whistle , roars right at you and wails throughout the entire song.Unforgettable.Goshorn and Call again forcefully drive their sound home in this one. Hinds has it all going behind the drums, cymbals crashing , providing an opening which grabs you and doesn't let go. Superb. Just another PPL song which demonstrates why these guys rose to the top of the genre.
ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE featured PPL after this release, calling TWO LANE HIGHWAY " a worthy companion to the likes of the Byrds' SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO and other gems of the genre. " Goshorn , Powell and Call were singled out as PPL emerged as a major force in 1975. As stated earlier ,PPL was at the crossroads when they entered the studio to record this album. When they exited, they had put together a classic, not to mention putting to rest the question of whether PPL would succeed without Fuller. The answer was obvious as TWO LANE HIGHWAY become PPL's first gold LP. In the process it also resurrected the first two LP's , pushing BUSTIN' OUT and AMIE onto the charts a few years after their original release.
It takes some special music to do that, and that is exactly what we have here. You can't miss with this classic from PURE PRAIRIE LEAGUE. This belongs in your collection.
The Goshorn Brothers, Larry and Tim ( who joined PPL on JUST FLY,departed with Larry then rejoined PPL in the 80's ) are still going strong. They have two excellent CD's out and are starting a third , their guitars, singing and songwriting still blazing the trail they pioneered as members of PPL. Check out their website and their music, it`s well worth the effort.
Drivers love Two Lane Highway
Keith Turley | St George, Utah | 12/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have worn out 4 or 5 cassettes of this album over the last 25 years of long haul trucking. Everyone I have turned on to this loves it. Got a ticket once for 87 in a 65 while listening to KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN. I am buying it now on CD as my new Kenworth has a CD player in it. We have a lot of time to think on the road and this album enhances that lonely time. Buy it, put on your driving shoes,(real truckers wear tennis shoes), find a long stretch of highway, and crank it up!"
2LANEHWY QUALITY LISTENING
lambim | Kansas City, MO United States | 04/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is high quality recording - at its best. The quality sounds 2000 not 70's. I had the LP many years ago and wondered if memory made it better than it really was. Not so. The piece with Emmy Lou Harris singing "Just Can't Believe It" is beautiful. The slide guitar and orchestrations is masterful. Its the type of music where you appreciate the art and talent but it is down to earth, tap your feet and sing-along, FUN kind of music. A must for any music lover and collector."
A Country-Rock must have
lambim | 03/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a very overlooked and underrated album. If your a country-rock fan you have to have this one in your collection. Many people think Craig Fuller was PPL. Larry Goshorn and George Ed Powell prove here that they were capable of carrying on without Fuller. If you like Poco,Gene Clark,Rick Roberts,the early Eagles (before they [stunk]) you'll love this one."