David Gates: First CD Track Listing
Originally Released 1973\nCD Edition Released December 28, 1999\n\nAMG EXPERT REVIEW: First, David Gates "first" album away from Bread, begins with that distinctive voice and sound his band made famous when he was at the controls. On the initial track of this 1973 release, "Sailing Around the World," he sings "wish that I could start again." The problem here is that Bread had a groove, and a quick comparison is in order: Despite David Bowie's fame after splitting from the Spiders From Mars, rock & roll fans never felt the same way about that artist. So, too, with this soft rock maestro, and regardless of the on-key and in-control aspect of First, it's hard to get a handle on many of these nine original songs. It's a stellar cast behind the identifiable pop figure -- Jim Horn, Jim Gordon, Larry Carlton, Russ Kunkel, Mike Botts, and so on and so forth -- all providing a sterling foundation, but there is no knockout punch like "The Guitar Man," "Make It With You," or even his '60s hit for the Murmaids, "Popsicles, Icicles." Now an acoustic version of that gem would have brought this set to life post haste. "Sunday Rider" is restrained rock, not as defined as the Top 30 "Let Your Love Go" from 1971, the hardest of Bread's dozen hit records. "Soap" is pretty lackluster, though "Suite: Clouds, Rain" adds a nice dimension to the end of side one, nearly nine minutes of lovely, soft music that became identified with the artist. Side two has some interesting moments. "Ann" opens up with something close to the "Sweet Surrender" riff and is a soft folk number much like "Aubrey" from The Guitarman album, little touches of "Arrivederci Roma" flavor the instrumentation and melody. "Do You Believe He's Comin'" brings back the semi-heavy guitar of "Guitar Man," meaning Gates has no qualms about taking his bag of Bread tricks to his solo effort. A lyric about "the meek inheriting the earth" and the use of capital "h" on "He" make it clear this is a folk/gospel/Jesus song. "Sight & Sound" kicks in with that same "Sweet Surrender" riff used two songs ago..."the sweetest sight," "the sweetest night," "the sweetest sound," "the sweetest silence"...the man has definitely surrendered to the word "sweet," and it does get a bit redundant. "Lorilee" is the ninth and final track, continuing his tradition of writings songs with women's names, the second on First. "Lorilee" begins with a stunningly beautiful instrumental, sounding like Santana performing Marty Balin's 1981 hit "Hearts" over Carole King's "It's Too Late" riff. Nice, very nice. There's actually no need for vocals; "Lorilee" is a strong track just on the merits of the instrumentation, which begs the final question: Is it surprising that the best number on First is the song that sounds like Bread the least? This was the time for David Gates to break out a couple of cover songs to introduce himself as an interpreter, and the album suffers for lack of outside material. -- Joe Viglione\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nDavid Gates branches out--it's easy to see why he went solo..., July 25, 2005\nReviewer: Dave "missing person" (United States)\nIn terms of commercial success, Bread were still going strong into 1973, but it's easy to see why David Gates would have wanted to go solo. Quite simply, it seems as though he really wanted to be able to devote an entire album to his own material and not have to share space with James Griffin, which is perfectly understandable, not only because of Gates' enormous amount of talent, but also due to the personal nature of this album. Griffin doesn't appear on "First", but David's other Bread bandmates Larry Knechtel and Mike Botts are here, which is very telling indeed--that said, it seems utterly clear that Bread broke up mainly due to the tension between Griffin and Gates. \n\nIn addition to Knechtel and Botts, Gates has some big name West Coast session musicians on here including Larry Carlton, Louie Shelton, Jim Gordon, and Russ Kunkel. It's very fitting that "First" is a solo album--not only did David write and produce all the tracks himself, but there's a very personal and confessional nature to many of these songs that's striking. For instance, there's the wistful, gentle album-opener "Sail Around The World", a really moving and bittersweet song about coming to grips with the things you'd really like to do in life, but probably won't ever have the chance to do. "I Use The Soap" is another great tune that curiously matches upbeat, country-flavored acoustic music with reflective and quite mournful lyrics, although he does end the song with a ray of optimism for the future. "Sunday Rider" is a nice rocker with escapist lyrics that uncannily bring to mind Jackson Browne, though Browne was yet to reach his peak at the time of this album. \n\nWith Gates finally having a whole album to himself, you can clearly see him using the opportunity to branch out, and it's often to great effect. He puts Van Morrison, not to mention Chicago, to shame with "Help Is On The Way", a rousing and incredibly catchy jazz-rocker with cautionary lyrics telling us to not get too wrapped up in a race against time. He brings back a jazzy sound on the album-closer, the sumptuous and blissful "Lorilee", presumably written for another one of his children--it's largely instrumental, with great chord changes and instrumental soloing, although it does sound strikingly similar to the Allman Brothers Band's "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed". \n\nGates even steps into progressive rock territory with the extremely impressive "Suite: Clouds, Rain", almost undoubtedly his most imaginatively-arranged piece of music ever--it opens with sound effects, and then David comes in playing a lovely, melancholy piano theme before being joined by orchestral accompaniment. The goosebump-inducing "Clouds" was released on its own as a single--it's a dreamily transcendant song with masterful use of Moog synthesizer. \n\nAll that said, it would certainly be an exaggeration to say that "First" marks a clean break from the Bread sound. For instance, "Ann" very much sounds like it could have been on a Bread album; it was written for one of his daughters--unfortunately, the lyrics are quite obvious and sappy, although there's no denying that it's very nicely melodic and sincerely sung. The easy-going, country-flavored "Sight & Sound" is a pleasant song kind of along the lines of "Sweet Surrender". \n\nUnfortunately, Gates falters on "Do You Believe He's Comin'" which has annoying, self-righteously religious lyrics and gospel-style background vocals. On the positive side, this tune does have a wonderful coda that reprises the intro of "Suite: Clouds, Rain". \n\nDespite the flaws, "First" is still a highly recommended album that comes tantalizingly close to a masterpiece--Gates' diversity and ability to follow through on his ambitions is truly impressive, and as much great music as he would continue to make after this, it's still kind of a shame he never even tried to make another album that combined adventurous departures from his more trademarked style along with a sprawling, unifying feel. It figures that this album was a big commercial disappointment, not even reaching the top 100 on the US album chart, because David Gates makes it abundantly clear here that he's been far more than the mere commercial hack that certain people like to accuse him of being. \n\n(P.S. This CD version of "First" is marred by the print on the back cover which is damn near impossible to read.)\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nBest, better, "bestest", April 19, 2003\nReviewer: Clark W. Cowles (Long Beach, CA)\nIn a nutshell, no album or artist as had the impact on me as "first" and David Gates. Both this album and "Goodbye Girl" of David Gates' solo career are imports in CD formats (English and Japanese respectfully), which usually limits their availibility after awhile. It is truly a shame that Mr. Gates' other solo works from the '70's and early '80's have not been released on CD. Anyone who enjoyed David Gates during his Bread tenure will see him reach his pinnacle of talent on "first." I highly, highly, highly recommend the purchase of this CD.\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\n"first" best describes the music and this artist, April 19, 2003\nReviewer: Clark W. Cowles (Long Beach, CA)\nFirst (no pun intended), I want to say, "Clouds" is my favorite song and David Gates my favorite artist of all time. I remember hearing the '45 version of "Clouds" over the radio waves during the summer of 1973. It connected to me as a song I could have written myself because it so much reflected the person and essence of who I was- and still am- at that time in my life. That was a busy summer and autumn as I entered my senior year at The Ohio State University. It was the night we switched to standard time from daylight savings time and Discount Records on High Street was having a sale. The store was PACKED with people. Thumbing through the bins, I happened on David Gates' "first" album to my delight. I stood in line over 45 minutes to purchase this record that evening and was up until almost 4AM listening to this album over and over... it had that much of an initial impact on me. Much to my surprise and delight, I found that "Clouds" over the air waves was only part of an 8 minute and 52 second song entitled, "Suite: Clouds, Rain." The suite in its entirity punched me in the gut ten times harder than my initial hearing of "Clouds," the single edited song. \nI had the much belated privilege (besides Bread's reunion tour in 1996) of FINALLY seeing David Gates in solo concert at the Orange County Fair in August 1998 and the Crazy Horse in Irvine, CA in January 2000. Much to my surprise before he played the "Clouds, Rain" suite at the Irvine concert, he apologized to his audience as to the length of this piece.... something I believe he never should have felt he had to do. He said his inspiration or motivation for this extended song came from the lengthy pieces that came from the Moody Blues, another of my favorite groups and a contemporary of Bread. \n\n"first" has always struck me as showing David Gates' most inner, introspective side more than any of his Bread songs or his remaining five solo albums. Some of the songs like "Clouds," "Sail Around the World," and "Soap" have almost a "mourning" quality they are so personal in nature and tone. Somehow this does not come as total surprise as this album was in production at the time Bread disbanded and Gates was embarking on his solo career. This album of songs can make me think, motivate me, feel content, and feel sad, and give me an inner peace like no other. \n\nI have three "first" albums as the many times I played them, the sound quality is less than good. I was elated to see this album finally released on CD format. My only disappointment is that this is an English import as the only other Gates solo album from his '70's/early 80's releases on CD is "Goodbye Girl" as a Japanese import. David Gates has so many other fine songs on all his other solo albums that have not been transfered to CD. Many of his solo songs can be found on the Bread 2-CD set, "Retrospective... four songs from "first"; two songs from "Never Let Her Go"; two from "Goodbye Girl"; and, sadly, only one song each from his "Falling In Love Again" and "Take Me Now" albums. "Falling In Love Again," and "The Rainbow Song" (yeah!) from the former and "It's You,"; "Still In Love: and "Vanity" from the latter pop out in my mind as wonderful songs that will pull you in and are not yet available on CD to my knowledge. Also, anyone who loves Karen Carpenter's, "Merry Christmas Darling," will at least tie it or move it to second place after hearing David Gates' "Come Home For Christmas." \n\nIt is very disappointing that Elektra and/or Artista hasn't been more motivated to release a "Best of David Gates" compilitation of these five solo albums. (I can name eighteen songs I'd like to see on such a project- hint, hint.) Of these five albums though, I would recommend "first." If you want to hear David Gates open himself up in song and verse like no other artist I have ever heard, buy this CD. I promise you will not be disappointed.\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nA true classic - here's why, March 14, 2002\nReviewer: A. Butterfield (UK)\nAfter the demise of Bread in 1973, David Gates was quick off the mark with this fine album, and perhaps aiming to prove that he could do even better without the assistance of James Griffin (even though the other Bread members lend their talents on "First".) \n\nI think this is a better album than any of Bread's. Bread were better at singles than albums. David Gates (as a solo artist) the reverse. \n\nFreed from the need to compromise within the group, David came up with an extremely cohesive album (some of the musical themes echo around more than one song) that seems just as good when I play it today (and I often still do) as when I played it back in, well, whenever it was. \n\nIgnore all the rubbish about "soft rock" and "mushy" lyrics. David Gates is unique. His voice is actually incredibly distinctive. The songs are romantic, sure, but mushy? I don't think so. They have a kind of "yearning" quality, sometimes, and come at themes from odd angles, like the best songs always do. And the lyrics are almost always sure and poetic. \n\nCouple this with memorable melodies that will never leave you, and sublime production that seems better than most of today's output, and you get all the makings of a true classic. \n\nWho can blame David for harvesting this album when he put together his semi-compilation "Goodbye Girl" a few years later (which did contain several new songs, despite what another reviewer says)? He probably felt the songs didn't get enough recognition. \n\nA trawl through a certain internet auction site will tell you how popular David Gates still is. It's a shame his fans are risking bootleg CDs of his unreleased albums because Elektra in their wisdom will not release his entire back catalogue on CD. This is misguided. \n\nIf you haven't already got this album, please get it now before they pull the plug on it.\n\nAMAZON.COM CUSTOMER REVIEW\nOne of the Great Soft Rock Albums of the 70's, March 11, 2002\nReviewer: Samuel J. Bethune "judgesam" (Lincoln, Nebraska USA)\nI bought "First" on 8 track tape shortly after I graduated from high school, largely on the strength of "Clouds", which had been released as a single. Most of the other tracks turned out to be surprisingly good and it quickly became one of my favorites. Several people have already commented on the "Clouds Suite" and I enthusiastically agree with their comments. "Lorilee", "Sail Around the World", and "Soap (I Use The)" are also well-crafted pop gems worthy of a listen. "Do You Believe He's Comin'" is a somewhat hard-edged profession of Christian faith that many contemporary Christian artists would do well to emulate. The only track on this collection that I consider weak is "Sunday Riders", a somewhat half-hearted attempt that despite an infectuous guitar lick has some of the lamest lyrics I've ever heard from a songwriter of Gates' considerable talent.\nTo the reviewer in Australia who said that many of the songs on this album were lifted from Gates' "Goodbye Girl" album, the fact is that this album was released 4 years before "Goodbye Girl". Other than the title track, the only original song on that album was "Took the Last Train". Every other track from that album was either from "First" or Gates' excellent sophomore effort "Never Let Her Go".\n\nAfter listening to this album again, I am truly disappointed and somewhat astonished that David Gates' post-Bread career didn't take off. Thankfully, with this album we have the opportunity to hear these great songs again. I sure hope that "Never Let Her Go" gets released on CD soon.
This misc cd contains 9 tracks and runs 37min 34sec.
Buy: from Amazon.com
Tags: music songs tracks misc Rock
- David Gates - Sail Around The World (03:19)
- David Gates - Sunday Rider (03:22)
- David Gates - Soap (I Use The) (02:28)
- David Gates - Suite: Clouds, Rain (08:55)
- David Gates - Help Is On The Way (02:56)
- David Gates - Ann (03:53)
- David Gates - Do You Believe He's Comin' (04:56)
- David Gates - Sight & Sound (02:56)
- David Gates - Lorilee (04:42)