Michael Martin Murphey

Americana

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Americana was Michael Martin Murphey's second Warner Bros. effort, and the follow-up to Tonight We Ride. Having recorded previously for A&M, Epic, and EMI, Murphey found a permanent home with the label and began a long association with the label's president and resident producer, Jim Ed Norman. The most striking thing about the disc is the lack of Murphey's own songs (there is one he authored, and two more he co-wrote). Having established himself in the early '70s as one of the new breed of Texas songwriters, this program of indistinct, slow, and slick-a-licious Music Row balladic pablum must have been difficult to swallow for an artist who had never written less than half of one of his own recordings to that point. The album's only notable track is the disc's midtempo opener, "Face in the Crowd," a duet with singer Holly Dunn -- and that stands out because of her performance. Despite the presence of players like Lloyd Green and Reggie Young, Americana never rises above a snore at best and is simply sickeningly sweet at worst.

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