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America / Half Century box set

7CD+DVD box set full of unreleased material

Half Century is a new eight-disc box set that marks the 50th anniversary of US folk-rock trio America. If features many previously unreleased outtakes and demos across the 7CD+DVD box set.

Half Century kicks off with a CD of demos recorded in London in 1970 just prior to the band’s debut album on Warners and then moves on to Bremen 1973 an on-air live recording made between the Hat Trick and Holiday albums. This recording has previously only been available on DVD and has been remastered and includes all the un-edited studio banter.

Three further CDs of alternate mixes and demos feature in this box set including The Caribou Sessions which spotlight early takes and rehearsals stem from the Caribou Ranch Studios in Nederland, Colorado. Both the original home demos and session outtakes here provide a glimpse into the recording process before the later overdubs and strings were applied. Early 1980s and 1990s are also covered. CD 5 (The Alternate 90s Plus) closes with a new 2020 recording of the song ‘Remembering’.

CDs 6 & 7 are dubbed America on the Radio and comprise various radio interviews stemming from 1974 – 2000 and a DVD, America – Home Movies, completes the package with fly-on-the-wall footage from 1972 to 1975.

As can be seen from the image below, this set includes all manner of printed material including a posters, booklet, replica tickets, numbered certificate, badges and more. The CDs come in jewel cases which may come in handy for future storage.

Half Century will be released on 21 August 2020 (was 12 June, then 10 July).

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AMERICA

HALF CENTURY (8 DISC BOX SET)

Currency:

CD 1: London Demos 1970 (all previously unreleased)
1. Children (Dick James)
2. Riverside (Chalk Farm)
3. Rainy Day (Polydor)
4. Here (Chalk Farm)
5. Satan (Polydor)
6. Bummer (Chalk Farm)
7. Sea of Destiny (Chalk Farm)
8. How Long (Chalk Farm)
9. James Holladay (Dick James)
10. Children (Chalk Farm)

CD 2: Bremen 1973: (only previously available as a DVD)
1. Ventura Highway
2. I Need You
3. Don’t Cross the River
4. A Horse with No Name
5. Moon Song
6. Lonely People
7. Wind Wave
8. Rainbow Song
9. Tin Man
10. California Revisited
11. Green Monkey

CD 3: The Caribou Sessions 1976 – (all previously unreleased)
1. She’s a Liar – Outtake / Alternate Mix
2. Amber Cascades – Alternate Early Mix
3. Today’s the Day – Outtake / Walkthrough
4. Lovely Night – Outtake / Take 1 Session
5. Hideaway PT 1 – Early Band Outtake
6. Watership Down – Alternate Mix
7. Letter – Alternate Mix
8. Lovely Night – Buzz Studio Demo
9. Jet Boy Blue – Outtake / Alternate Mix
10. Who Loves You – Alternate Mix
11. Caribou Outtakes Montage
12. I’m New in Town – Buzz Studio Demo / Previously Unreleased Song

CD 4: The Poison Oak Sessions 1981 (all previously unreleased)
1. Sailors and Seagulls (Unheard Song)
2. Look at Me Now (Early Version)
3. My Dear (Early Version)
4. Sometimes Lovers (Early Version)
5. All the People – Whole Wide World (Early Version)
6. Coming on (Unheard Song)
7. Now I Want Your Love (Unheard Song)
8. Inspector Mills (Early Version)
9. China Sea (Unheard Song)
10. Doesn’t the Time (Unheard Song)
11. Someday Forever (Unheard Song)

Disc: 5: The Alternate 90’s Plus (all previously unreleased)
1. Young Moon (Mix Without Inst. Intro)
2. Call of the Wild (Alternate Early Mix)
3. Sleeper Train (Alternate Early Mix)
4. Ports of Call ((Alternate Early Mix)
5. Mirror to Mirror (Alternate Early Mix)
6. Whole Wide World (Alternate Early Mix)
7. Hope (Unheard Song)
8. The Hills Are Green (Unheard Song)
9. Horse (Interlude)
10. From a Moving Train (Single Version – Edited Shorter Intro)
11. Wheels Are Turning (Unheard Song)
12. Town and Country (Unheard Song)
13. Moment to Moment (Alternate Mix)
14. Wednesday Morning (Unheard Song)
15. Oloololo (Unheard Song)
16. Overwhelming World (Alternate Mix)
17. Moment to Moment (Alternate Mix)
18. Hot Town (Unheard Song)
19. Pages (Alternate Early Mix)
20. If It Is the End (Previously Unreleased)
21. Remembering (New 2020)

CD 6 & 7 America on the Radio – (all previously unreleased)

America Radio Interviews and Promo – The 70’s America Radio Interviews and Promo – The 80’s – 2000’s

Disc 8 (DVD): America – Home Movies (all previously unreleased)
1. America Hat Trick at Home 1: Rooftop Jam – Green Monkey – 1973
2. America Hat Trick at Home 2: Goodbye – 1973
3. America Hat Trick at Home 3: Sandman – 1973
4. America Hat Trick at Home 4: Hat Trick Rehearsal – 1973
5. America: Bremen Behind the Scenes – 1973 (No Audio)
6. America: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion 1 – 1973
7. America: Air Studios – London Misc. Footage – 1974
8. America: Airplane High Jinx 1 – 1974 (No Audio)
9. America: Airplane High Jinx 2 – 1975
10. America: Tour Plane Interview – 1975

31 responses to America / Half Century box set

  1. Clive Wills says:

    FYI – There is also an (attractively priced) release of some early Gerry Beckley material recorded at Morgan Studios in 1970. All but 1 previously unreleased. You can check it out here: https://amzn.to/3lFEGyL

  2. Edward Fitzgerald says:

    At shows heard them tell the audience their Highway box set, available at the merchandise table, should be called “highway robbery”. They talked up The Grand Cayman Concert when that was at the table.

    Everything on the video preview sounds great but I’ll be in the wait to see if the price falls line.

    Would like to see a box set or expanded version of Homecoming!

  3. Jim Wood says:

    I am a big America fan but come on gotta be a joke that price?

  4. Randy Metro says:

    While on the subject of America. Check out Gerry Beckley’s solo albums.

  5. MikeB says:

    I bought their Hearts album back in the day because of the George Martin connection and followed them ever since but this box set has now gone up to an even higher £134.76 on Amazon UK. Much as I’m a completist of their work I will definitely wait and hope it drops a lot later on

  6. Nelson Lee says:

    Now up to £134.76 on Amazon uk !!

  7. seikotsi says:

    I only knew ‘the border’ which is amazing, but it seems to be often ignored? Ventura Highway I recognise too now from yacht rock compilations. If it’s all so good may consider this.

  8. RODOLFO MARTIN says:

    Not a super fan but I liked their albums when they were a trio. They starting calling my attention when I knew that some of their albums were produced by George Martin. Maybe if the price goes down drastically, like in commercial failures, I will get this box. I doubt that any track in this set sounds with acceptable quality. They could have added the Spanish version of Sister Golden Hair, which was very successful in the mid 70s in Argentina and probably in Spain too. You can listen to it in the following link.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOub_mbHJO4

  9. BSR says:

    Ironic that this isn’t available in…..America.

  10. Fogarrach says:

    Interesting, I was just “idly” checking out America’s recent boxes on amazon, and trying to figure out whether any sets are remastered.

    Anyhap, I read a review by a MrBlint (uk). He really made a nice point when he wrote words to the effect that, whilst loving the Beatles, he reaches for America albums more.

    What a great point, and not least because I personally agree with him. I’m not suggesting that I like the Beatles less. Far from it. I just reckoned it was a lovely point (better made by him).

    • MLD says:

      And while I love Elvis Costello and the Attractions, I quite often reach for Scott Wilk and the Walls albums more.

  11. Jean-Michel says:

    Another one of those boxsets published by Gonzo Multimédia. Not sure the group has full control of this archive boxset.
    Gonzo made last year some boxsets not sanctionned by artists (eg Tangerine Dream), so be careful…

  12. Gareth Jones says:

    And a novice who only really knows Ventura Highway and Horse With No Name, this clearly isn’t aimed at me, but for the long-term fan this sounds amazing. It seems very rare to get a box set that doesn’t just duplicate all the albums you already have with a couple of extra discs of out-takes, B-sides, etc.

    Much as l love Supergrass and Blur, l essentially spent well over £100 on their box sets for a couple of discs of rarities. I didn’t need all their original albums twice. So if l was a big America fan, l’d be foaming at the mouth over this.

  13. Simon Taylor says:

    Still amazed that Horse With No Name, a song with the west coast sounds of CSNY and the like was written in Staines where I grew up. Hardly the most glamorous location.

    It’s the sort of set I’d go for if price drops in time. Like what I’ve heard from this band.

  14. Willy says:

    What a beautifully designed set. I love America.

  15. Tod H. says:

    I have loved this band since I was a kid growing up in the 70s and have seen them in concert a number of times over the years including last fall. I have their complete album sets for both WB and also Capitol but the price of this set leaves me a little cold. At over $120 US on most sites I don’t feel it’s a fair value for the cost. Perhaps at around $75-85 it would make more sense.

  16. Reech says:

    Are you sire paul these are in Jewel cases? The artwork is a template used many times for many releases. All of which look like jewel cases but shipped in crappy cardboard

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      No, I’m not sure to be honest. I was going by the visual, which by what you say maybe wasn’t a good idea…

  17. H says:

    I’m a bit confused with this one – I’ve followed America from the start and have every CD including all last years not quite 50 th anniversary stuff but a second volume of archives has just been released today and after the money making debacle of the live at the Palladium box set I’m torn as to whether this is another money spinner or genuinely worth having.Am I really likely to listen to this more than once ?Thoughts please?
    Thanks for keeping me sane with all the great stuff Paul take care and stay safe always.

    • Michael says:

      I’m curious why you say Live at the Palladium was a debacle? I bought it a few weeks ago on Amazon but the autographed card instead the box set was badly smudged, so I returned the set.
      I was pricey in Canada.

  18. Reech says:

    I love it they used jewel cases. As a collector i prefer them o er paper

  19. Fogarrach says:

    £99 quid. You’re having a laugh.

    Looks more like the contents of my bag after a church jumble sale than a music box set.
    And, noting that without running times I can only go on numbers of tracks: it looks like 8 cds could easily have been reduced to four.

    So, get rid of the extras, include remastered versions of their brilliant back catalogue and price it 45-60.

    Just my 45-60 worth.

    Ps: anyone who hasn’t heard Ventura highway , daisy jane, sandman and …. the incredible sister golden hair.
    Amend your ways and listen today. You’ll find that the sublime quality in their music might even make you bite this hook.

  20. I agree – this is the kind of box set that we need to see more of. Lots of unreleased/alternate material that tell the story of all the favorite era’s of the band – without ruining the originals. Love the interview collection – if it was annotated with the appropriate tracks to play after the answers – now that would be something. The good news is I haven’t purchased the other 3 boxes for the 50th anniversary of AMERICA yet – but I might just get this one :) (PS – saw this duo multiple times live – they never disappoint.)

  21. bruce kelso says:

    this is the way a box set should be done, amazing amount if songs unheard, saw them live bout 17 years ago and they were awesome. in my opinion after dan peek left they sorta lost the direction they had . at the capitol records period the label did nothing for them . I always wonder why they signed them.one question tho, why did the warners period have all lp titles that began with the letter h ?

    • Ste says:

      @Bruce kelso
      Just answering your Q: They started the titles of their albums with the letter H in honour of their first single, Horse With No Name, given it was such a resounding success.

  22. Jurg says:

    Perhaps the first box set of the year I’m going to buy. Travelling will not be for this year so we have enough time to listen. Great songwriters. I have that DVD (Bremen 1973 on-air live recording) and I love it, like if you are looking in their rehearsal room.

  23. Yankee Dollar says:

    It’s now 13 years since America released any new material. The “50th” anniversary celebrations are now well into their second year. Instead of this deluge of live, archive and alternates not to mention the box sets (at least 4) lets just have an album of new music!

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