September 25, 2001
Pop/Rock, Country-Rock, Soft Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock

Album Review

The origins of Songs of Pure Harmony (2001) date back to the summer of 1974 and a live radio simulcast on KFML-FM from the intimate confines of the Ebbits Field club in Denver, Colorado. As such, copies of this July 3 gig have been in circulation for quite some time via industrious homemade recordings derived from the broadcast. Immediately differentiating the two is the sound quality -- which is thoroughly excellent here -- as well as the absence of those pesky cassette tape generated flips. One of the best things about this performance is getting to hear the six-man lineup of Pure Prairie League circa their third long-player Two Lane Highway (1975). With the addition of former Sacred Mushroom member Larry Goshorn (bass/vocals), the League unveil an added facet to their vocals and fresh country-rock instrumentation. Yet when compared to the likes of the Eagles, America, or the Southern rock styling of Lynyrd Skynyrd, their approach is notably more traditional, leaning toward a decidedly bluegrass and country & western feel. The League draw heavily from their 1972 self-titled debut, the follow-up Bustin' Out (1972), and looking forward, their humor-filled cover of Nick Gravenites "I'll Change Your Flat, Merle" (also called "I'll Fix Your Flat, Merle") which would appear on the aforementioned Two Lane Highway. Speaking of which, the parody is then backed by a sublime update of Merle Haggard's "It's Not Love, But It's Not Bad." Their reading of "I've Just Seen a Face" recalls the Dillards' version with its breakneck speed and complex multi-vocal harmonies. The same holds for the Jesse Colin Young cut "Sugar Baby." In particular, John David Call's pedal steel guitar work distinguishes Pure Prairie League from the originals.
Lindsay Planer, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Amie
  2. I've Just Seen a Face
  3. The Brand New Tennessee Waltz
  4. In and Out of Town
  5. Harmony Song
  6. Country Song
  7. Early Morning Riser/Jazzman
  8. Fool for You
  9. I'll Fix Your Flat Tire Merle
  10. It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)
  11. Tears
  12. Sugar Baby
  13. It's All on Me
  14. Bring It with You
  15. Leave My Heart Alone
  16. Lose My Blues
  17. You're Between Me