The Innocent Age

Dan Fogelberg

Full Moon/Epic Records, 1981

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


Usually when an artist puts out a double album, it's for the purpose of doubling the price of the album while having to pad it with twice as much crap. Sad, yes, but a typical state of affairs in the recording industry, whether it's 1979 or 1999. This was a particularly painful epidemic in the late seventies and early eighties; I mean, who can forget the Robert Stigwood Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band? If they hadn't gone to two discs, we might have missed Peter Frampton mooing his way through "The Long And Winding Road".

However -- and this is a big however -- sometimes an artist puts out a double CD because he has enough to say to make it worthwhile. Happily, Dan Fogelberg's my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Innocent Age falls in that category. Notwithstanding a few small miscues, this is a solid piece of work, catching Fogleberg in freeze frame in his transition between being just another part of the seventies' California mellow sound, to being a serious, underrated songwriter, a countrified Harry Chapin who has had the good grace not to die.

Everyone knows the singles. Let us merely note that "Leader Of The Band," "Run For The Roses" and "Hard To Say" exist, say they're pretty damn good songs, and move on. If you've never heard them, you're either under 15 or you've been living under a rock for thirty years. The gem of the widely heard songs, however, is "Same Old Lang Syne," one of the most bittersweet songs ever written about love lost and never regained. This documentation of a true experience of Fogelberg's is naked emotion, wistful and keen-edged. (I find it fascinating this is used by a lot of 'lite rock' stations as a Christmas song. Do these people even listen to the lyrics?)

To really appreciate The Innocent Age, though, you have to listen to it -as an album-, one piece of work from the beginning of Disc One to the end of Disc Two. From the opening chiming guitar of "Nexus" to the elegant piano of "In The Passage," the driving rock of "Lost In The Sun" to the expressive vocals of "The Lion's Share," the power of "Times Like These" to the almost sinister "Empty Cages," this CD almost never falters. When the closing chords of "Ghosts" die away, you know you've had an experience. There are a few small miscues; "Only The Heart May Know," a duet with Emmylou Harris, drags badly, as does "The Sand And The Foam," but they're minor problems at best. From the first note to the last, this is country-rock brilliance, further cementing Fogelberg as the most underappreciated solo performer of the seventies and eighties.

This album is worth the price. (And thanks to CBS' discount policies, the price is lower than you'd expect.) Go get it, and get surprised.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


Again I agree with this review. Excellent writing and instrumentation. Fogelberg reached his summit with this wonderful album. Unfortunately he went downhill from here. Excellent arragement and a lot of people may not have known that he played practically every instrument on the album, except for the drums. I look at this as the story of life, from beginning to end. Very well put together!

© 1999 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Full Moon/Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.