on 29 October 2006
I remember buying this more or less when it came out after reading a favourable review in one of the music papers (Melody Maker?). I used to be fairly adventurous in my purchases, often buying albums by bands I hadn't heard. When CDs came into being, this was one of the first of the albums I had on vinyl which I purchased on CD (the LP was already suffering from extensive playing over the years).
This debut album has a less heavy feel to it than most of what followed. Its strength lies very much in the instrumental passages, the vocals and lyrics generally being unexceptional.
The musicianship throughout the album is a joy. The tone right from the start is spacious and crisp, and the contributions of guitar (Neal Schon) and keyboard (Greg Rolie) are predominant over a solid rhythmic backing from Aynsley Dunbar (drums), Ross Valory (Bass) and George Tickner (Rhythm Guitar).
The first track, 'Of a Lifetime' is an excellent start: a laid back opening passage quickly gives way to an exciting roller coaster ride through the course of its nearly seven minute duration. The next song, 'In the Morning Day', starts rather blandly with a banal lyric before exploding into the instrumental fireworks which take up the second half of the song. The final track on what was the first side of the LP, 'Kohoutek', is a spaced out and space inspired instrumental which builds slowly through alternating fast and slow passages.
What was the second side of the LP opens with 'To Play Some Music', which is really the only disappointing track on the album. The instrumental which follows, 'Topaz', is in my view the best track of the album. It is somewhat redolent of Santana instrumentals such as 'Europa', which is unsurprising given the background of the band members. 'In My Lonely Feeling/Conversations' is a solid combination of two songs, the latter an instrumental, and features some very nice guitar in the 'Conversations' part. The album closes with 'Mystery Mountain' a song which rocks away nicely though the lyric is hardly a masterpiece!
This first album is one I would recommend very highly. I still listen to it often today, more than thirty years since buying my first copy. It is a debut album, and is a flawed and inconsistent offering from a band whose direction changed when they got to their second album, but the good points on this album are very good and there are plenty of them.
on 7 January 2010
I have most of Journey's albums on assorted vinyl, CD's and downloads. I have seen them live twice - 27 years years apart,once in London and more recently in Glasgow. In Glasgow twice I was warned to stop standing on the chair or I was threatened with expulsion - I'm 48 years old. This is a brilliant album and I can recommend all of Journey's work.
on 30 March 2009
I bought a double longplayer (record! You know what this means, young folks?) about 30 years ago "the best of Journey" which included a few songs of the first, some of the second and some of the third (I guess) record of the orginal "Journey" (this means: no Steve Perry!).
What you hear is a fantastic piece of genuine rock music at its best, consequently developing the incredible sound this musicians used to create together with Carlos Santana at the end of the 60s and in the beginning 70s. No fillers, just killers. 7 great songs.
I should mention: The second album is nearly as good as the first one!
By the way, I also own "Journey" albums with Steve Perry. Good Pop-music, but far away from the best "Journey" you can get!
mixi from Germany
on 12 March 2010
Wow this a million miles away from the slick rock stylings of 'Don't Stop Believin'! It is safe to say that it is not the best in the Journey catalogue, however a few gems are worth slipping into a best-of compilation for sure.
'Kahotek' is by far the best thing on here, and for an instrumental, that's an achievement in itself. The opener 'Of a LIfetime' is a perfectly hummable tune, but it digresses into senseless noodling for the last few minutes, which is part of the problem with the album. It is of its time and that is the mid '70s. Coming from the extremely noodly Santana, and jumping off the backs of the '60s greats like Hendrix, together with Zeppelin being flavour of the decade, it has become rather dated.
That said, 'To Play Some music' is a great vision of what was to come. Half good and half trying to find themselves, Journey have done miles better. But 'Kahoutek' will always be worth a relisten.