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Town and Country is rock outfit Humble Pie's second studio album, released in November 1969
An interesting anomaly in the Humble Pie oeuvre, Town And Country finds the band in a gentler mood than their first album. Immediate Records rushed it into UK shops in the fall of 1969 to try to get up the charts before the company went bankrupt, but with no promotional money to back it, it quickly sank without a trace.
The record didn't even make it into the US at the time, even though the band was on its first American tour when the album was released. All four members contributed songs, with Peter Frampton featured on acoustic guitar and Steve Marriott featured on keyboards. Two of the more memorable tracks were a cover of the classic Buddy Holly song "Heartbeat" and the notable Marriott composition "Every Mother's Son".
Most, if not all, of the material dates back to recordings in the spring and early summer of 1969, when the Pie recorded more than two albums' worth of material — legal wrangling with Frampton's old management had delayed a release until August — before striking out on the road over the last half of the year.
Like the band's early live shows, "Town And Country" was an eclectic mix of acoustic ballads, country-rock, folk and blues; concerts at this time typically featured a long (and sometimes laborious) 'unplugged' set, followed by more conventional electric set. It was after this album that Humble Pie forged their trademark "heavy" sound — and would continue in that vein until disbanding in 1975.
The album was produced by Glyn Johns' brother, Andy Johns, who also worked for Olympic Studios.
Anyone who thinks of Humble Pie solely in terms of their latter-day boogie rock will be greatly surprised with this, the band's second release, for it is almost entirely acoustic. There is a gently rocking cover of Buddy Holly's "Heartbeat," and a couple of electrified Steve Marriott numbers, but the overall feel is definitely more of the country than the town or city. "The Sad Bag of Shaky Jake" is a typical Marriott country ditty, similar to those he would include almost as a token on each of the subsequent studio albums, and "Every Mother's Son" is structured as a folk tale.
On "The Light of Love," Marriott even plays sitar. Peter Frampton's contributions here foreshadow the acoustic-based music he would make as a solo artist a few years later. As a whole, this is a crisp, cleanly recorded, attractive-sounding album, totally atypical of the Humble Pie catalog, but well worth a listen.
01."Take Me Back" - (Frampton) – 4:52
02."The Sad Bag of Shaky Jake" - (Marriott) – 2:59
03."The Light of Love" - (Ridley) – 3:00
04."Cold Lady" - (Shirley) – 3:22
05."Down Home Again" - (Marriott) – 2:56
06."Ollie Ollie" - (Frampton/Marriott/Ridley/Shirley) – 0:50
07."Every Mother's Son" - (Marriott) – 5:43
08."Heartbeat" - (Montgomery/Petty) – 2:33
09."Only You Can See" - (Frampton) – 3:38
10."Silver Tongue" - (Marriott) – 3:20
11."Home and Away" - (Frampton/Ridley) – 5:55
12. "79th Street Blues" - 03.02
13. "Greg's Song" - 04.29