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Queen - A Day at the Races (1976)

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Queen - A Day at the Races (1976)

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01. Tie Your Mother Down (Brian May) - 4:46
02. You Take My Breath Away (Freddie Mercury) - 4:40
03. Long Away (May) - 3:59
04. The Millionaire Waltz (Mercury) - 4:52
05. You And I (John Deacon) - 3:23
06. Somebody To Love (Mercury) - 4:55
07. White Man (May) - 4:57
08. Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy (Mercury) - 2:54
09. Drowse (Roger Taylor) - 3:42
10. Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) (May) - 5:50
Bonuses:
11. Tie Your Mother Down (1991 remix by Matt Wallace) (May) - 3:42
12. Somebody To Love (1991 remix by Randy Badazz) (Mercury) - 4:59

Personnel:
- Freddie Mercury - lead vocals, piano, choir master
- Brian May - electric & acoustic guitars, vocals, leader of the Orchestra
- Roger Taylor - drums, percussion, vocals, pandemonium
- John Deacon - fender bass
+
- Mike Stone - additional vocals on "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy"

 

Queen's fifth album is a step away from what they'd been doing up to this point. Although it proves to be a good sister album to A Night At The Opera, this is the album where Queen started going more for the concise rock songs than the experimental approach that they'd taken leading up to this point. While this is where Queen starts to get really well known in the rock world (well, moreso on the last album, this one just builds off it) this is also where they more or less turned away from the progressive tenancies that they had going. A very good album, this has a lot of Queen's better known songs - just don't expect anything progressive like March Of The Black Queen or The Prophet's Song.

The album is still very good with the short songs. It seems that the band really got a hold of melodies and put them to use in well thought out pop-rock songs, many of which can be found on may radio stations and compilations even today. Fan favorites that are played live these days even without Freddy at the helm include the rocking, rebellious opener Tie Your Mother Down and the always popular (in the rock world) Somebody To Love. As stated before, this is where Queen really started to go song for song, as there's no short interludes or tracks that link together to form a kind of suite. Each song stands on it's own as a good piece. Drowse is the song on the album which gets voice by Roger Taylor, and what a job he does! This one isn't heavy like some of the other songs he voiced for the band like I'm In Love With My Car or Tenement Funster, but it makes for a zoned out relax-fest with Taylor's smooth vocals harmonies.

The slower songs on the album do tend to drag a bit though. The second (and longest) song on the album, You Take My Breath Away is a delicate ballad which is at times far to silent. Coming right after the powerful opener as well this song seems to be wildly out of place. The closing Teo Torriatte (Let Us Cling Together) is a better stab at a slow piece, but it doesn't measure up to some of the more impressive pieces on the album.

Still, there's some utterly fantastic moments on the album that really make it worth it. The previously mentioned Drowse is an easy standout, as is the soft-yet-still-pressing Long Away and the powerful White Man with it's malicious instrumental sections and it's accusing lyrics.

Like many of the Queen remasters, this album comes with some remixes. Tie Your Mother Down and Somebody To Love each get some treatment, but to be totally honest there's no use in listening to them unless you're such a big fan that you really feel the need to.

All in all a very good rock album but for prog heads only to be gotten if you're into the band. There's nothing here like there is on the last albums that will blow your head clean off your shoulders, but if you enjoy good rock and roll then this one will satisfy. 3 stars out of 5 for a prog collection, which is semi-unfair because it really isn't a prog album. Recommended for those who want to rock and roll. ---Queen By-Tor, progarchives.com

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