Honored - Volume 2
You Can Do Magic () -- John O'Banion
This album is a "home-rolled" compilation of several covers of songs that are also performed by America. John Corbett compiled the songs and has agreed to make the CD available to America Fans for $15 (to cover his costs). John also wrote the liner notes for this CD and they are included here in there entirety:
Note: John has moved from Colorado to California to continue his education. His time is very limited for making CD's so contact him directly to check the availability.
() You Can Do Magic (John O'Banion) Originally hailing from Kokomo, Indiana, John O'Banion originally came to fame with his Top 40 hit from 1981, "Love You Like I Never Loved Before." In addition to making vocal records, O'Banion has also starred in movies such as 1992's religious-themed "The Judas Project," in which he plays a modern-day Christ- like figure. On his 1997 album Hearts, O'Banion gives America's 1982 classic "You Can Do Magic" a decidedly jazzy flavor.
() Right Before Your Eyes (Ian Thomas) While a relative unknown in the United States, north of the border Ian Thomas has been recognized as one of Canada's finest singer/songwriters. Artists such as Santana and Manfred Mann have had hits with his material. His debut single, "Painted Ladies," made the Top Ten in Canada and the Top 40 in the U.S. in 1974. During the latter half of the 1970s and early 1980s, Thomas consistently put out critically-acclaimed albums such as Calabash from 1976, from which came the classic "Right Before Your Eyes." Producer Bobby Colomby (Blood, Sweat & Tears) fell in love with the song and wound up producing it for America's 1982 album View From The Ground. Ian's brother is actor Dave Thomas, best known for his role as Doug McKenzie in the 1983 Canadian spoof, "Strange Brew," and as Russell Norton on the 1990s ABC-TV show "Grace Under Fire."
() The Last Unicorn (Kenny Loggins) Kenny Loggins originally made a name for himself as one half of the early 1970s duo Loggins & Messina before going on to even greater fame as a solo artist during the late 1970s and 1980s. His 1994 album Return To Pooh Corner is an endearing set of children's songs inspired by his own experience as a father. From it comes his moving cover of "The Last Unicorn," originally penned by Jimmy Webb and performed by America for the 1982 movie of the same name.
() Cast The Spirit (Russ Ballard) By 1983, America was intimately involved with Russ Ballard on the production of Your Move. Ballard briefly became the unofficial third member of the group, playing nearly all the instruments, singing backing vocals, and writing the majority of the songs. His composition "Cast The Spirit" became the follow-up single to the Top 40 hit "The Border." This lengthy version of "Cast The Spirit" was originally recorded on Russ's own excellent solo album from 1978, At The Third Stroke.
() See How The Love Goes (Pointer Sisters) The Pointer Sisters had already had commercial success during the 1970s, but after Bonnie Pointer left to go solo in 1978, the remaining trio went toward a more mainstream pop direction and became unstoppable during the late 1970s and early '80s. "See How The Love Goes" was recorded for their 1982 album, So Excited, and featured Waddy Wachtel's distinctive guitar work. America covered this song on their 1984 electronic pop album, Perspective, an album which featured many of the same players on this Pointer Sisters song, including Nathan East, Paul Jackson, Jr., and Paulinho da Costa.
() Special Girl (Meat Loaf) Although he had previously gained visibility in the musical production "Hair," along with a role in the 1975 cult classic film, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," it was his 1977 rock-opera album Bat Out Of Hell which catapulted Meat Loaf to superstardom with his uniquely melodramatic vocals. After splitting with talented songwriter Jim Steinman, Meat Loaf covered outside material such as "Special Girl," produced by Frank Farian and recorded for his 1986 album, Blind Before I Stop. In 1993, Meat Loaf reunited with Steinman for the enormously successful Bat Out Of Hell II. Meanwhile, Farian went on into infamy in the early 1990s for his central role in creating and producing the notorious pop music hoax, Milli Vanilli.
() Hope (Project Hope) This track from the 1994 America album Hourglass became an unlikely country music anthem two years later when it was turned into a charity single for the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, AIDS and Cancer Research by producer George Briner. Country music's hottest artists gathered for the recording under the name Project Hope, including Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Terri Clark, Trisha Yearwood, and Tim McGraw, among others. On April 24, 1996, many of these artists gathered to sing "Hope" on the Academy of Country Music Awards telecast, an excerpt from which is included as the () introduction to this track.
() Honey (Ultramarine) Canterbury, England, ambient techno duo Paul Hammond and Ian Cooper, who teamed up in the 1990s under the name Ultramarine, won great praise for their blending of techno, folk, and classic rock into intriguing new forms of music. Hammond, a veteran of the British progressive rock outfit Atomic Rooster, and Cooper, a seasoned studio engineer, reworked the opening riff of America's "Muskrat Love" into the foundation for an atmospheric track called "Honey" on their highly-regarded 1992 album, Every Man And Woman Is A Star. Rumor has it that the "Dewey" quoted in the album liner notes is Dewey Bunnell, but Dewey has spent the last couple decades living in Northern California, not Sweetleaf County, Arkansas. Still, Ultramarine was heavily influenced by America. Listen closely to the end of the track and you can hear a sample from another famous America song.
() Ventura Highway (Paul Hardcastle) Paul Hardcastle made his mark in a crowded field of electronic pop instrumentalists in the 1980s with his outstanding commentary on the Vietnam War, "19," a song which reached the Top 20 in the summer of 1985. His 1999 album, The Jazzmasters III, takes a country-rock classic like "Ventura Highway" and gives it an aquatic, New Age feel. Lead vocalist Helen Rogers, a frequent contributor to Hardcastle's albums, lends a bluesy touch to the track.
() I Need You (Julian Lennon) Son of famed Beatle John Lennon, Julian scored hits in the 1980s in his own right, climbing into the Top Ten with "Valotte" and "Too Late For Goodbyes" in 1985. After a seven-year recording hiatus, he returned in 1998 with Photograph Smile, from which his somewhat raw cover of "I Need You" was released as a B- side.
() I Need You (Barnes & Barnes) Art and Artie Barnes, aka Bill Mumy and Robert Haimer, took a mellow classic like "I Need You" and gently applied a sledgehammer to it on their classic 1981 misadventure, Spazchow. Mumy and Haimer have a right to destroy America's songs -- they've created enough of them. The two have been involved in the writing of "Love On The Vine," "Someday Woman," "Can't Fall Asleep To A Lullaby," as well as the production of "Nothing's So Far Away (As Yesterday)." Mumy is also well known as a science-fiction actor, having starred in the TV series "Lost In Space" as a child and more recently in "Babylon 5." Longtime friend and songwriting partner Gerry Beckley applies the finishing blow to this uproarious version of his own song with his contributions on bass and backing vocals.
() Muskrat Love (The Captain & Tennille) The Captain & Tennille burst on to the pop music scene in a hurry with their 1975 smash hit, "Love Will Keep Us Together," which ultimately knocked America's "Sister Golden Hair" out of the Number One position in June 1975. They made amends the next year by taking an old America hit, "Muskrat Love," all the way to the Number Four position. Most people not familiar with America's work assume that The Captain & Tennille wrote "Muskrat Love." The Captain & Tennille themselves assumed that it had been written by America. Poor Willis Alan Ramsey -- no one ever remembers him. Old America cohort Hal Blaine contributes percussion on the track.
() Con Tu Pelo Tan Dorado (Sister Golden Hair) (America) While America had enormous commercial success in the United States during the early 1970s before losing steam, the group has had continued success around the globe all along. This version of their 1975 chart-topper, "Sister Golden Hair," features Gerry singing a credible lead vocal in Spanish over the identical backing vocal and instrumental tracks from their original English-language version.
() Sister Golden Hair (Spanic) This 1994 cover of "Sister Golden Hair" turns the tables on the previous version by featuring a native Spanish-speaking vocalist taking a crack at singing the song in English. Spanic is a dance outfit from Spain, where despite the lingering popularity of disco, America has had significant successes, most recently in their Number One hit, "From A Moving Train."
() A Horse With No Name (Mark Thornton) This enjoyable country take on "A Horse With No Name" keeps to the song's original acoustic flavor while adding a dobro and harmonicas. This version appeared on the 1996 album Country Picks Classic Rock, in which over a dozen noted country musicians got together to perform some of rock's classic cuts. Although Mark Thornton played guitars and produced the track, technically this agglomeration could be considered A Group With No Name. Thornton over the years has made a living out of making similar themed cover albums, such as tributes to Garth Brooks and Patsy Cline.
() Lonely People (Dan Peek) Although he focused on making Christian songs such as the Grammy-nominated "All Things Are Possible" and "Doer Of The Word" after leaving America in 1977, Dan Peek was unable to fully escape the influence of America in his solo albums. For his self-produced 1986 album Electro Voice, Dan returned to his biggest success with America, the 1975 Top Ten hit "Lonely People." In its eighties incarnation, "Lonely People" was transformed into a song asking listeners to "give your heart to Jesus Christ." The production remained similar to the original, with the exception of a synthesizer replacing the piano bridge, and an extended coda featuring a new harmonica solo.
In order to listen to the Real Audio sound clips above, you will need to have the Real Audio player which is available free from the Real Audio web site. Real Audio sound clips are identified by the blue notes () in parentheses behind the song title. Simply click on the notes to play the song.
Last Revised: 20 November 2002