For those in the know, the Bloodrock song ‘America, America’ is the one and only vocal performance by the band’s drummer (and occasional lyricist) Rick Cobb. It is also Bloodrock’s only acoustic number. Despite being an intended oddity, a ‘trifle’ as Cobb calls it, the Capitol Records’ art department inexplicably brought the super-short track to prominence by displaying the lyrics of the song, and nothing else, on the back of the LP cover containing it (Bloodrock 3).
The front cover of Bloodrock 3 displayed the band’s name spelled out with an American flag font – a top stripe of blue with white stars, a stripe of white and a stripe of red … blood dripping off the letters. As it turned out, the LP was released in April 1971 – the month the Lt. William Calley / My Lai massacre was the top headline throughout the US.
Capitol records, intentionally or not, placed an eye-popping pop art statement of subversion in every record shop throughout an nation racked by war doubts.
On the back of the record’s cover, the poem printed is vague – yet politically charged:
I remember how good friends we used to be,
Now knowing, we were younger
and protected from your harm;
You are so far away;
Your fossils are the children of today;
And though there’s joy in emptiness,
I cannot say your absence fits
The joys of living.
Rick Cobb (in conversation, July 3 2003, December 6 2003 and May 28 2004) said:
We did toss the idea around to spell it Amerika but decided it was either too corny or controversial, or both. It seemed like such a trifle at the time but a lot of people really responded to it. And I was surprised when it made the back cover. The final few words about ‘fossils’ and all that silliness is different in print than the version sung, but it still comes out the same way: Nebulous! I had a penchant for saying things that sounded more profound than they really were.
The Norwegian duo Fantasy Factory (Nils Martin Brandvik: bass, keyboards, guitars; Kjell-Tore Sandersen: vocals; with special appearance by Karl Martin Bratsberg: acoustic guitar) recorded an amazing cover of ‘America, America’ in 1999 (originally intended for a Bloodrock tribute CD which never reached production).
Fantasy Factory has kindly permitted Bloodrock’s online biography American Burn to feature an mp3 copy of their version of ‘America, America.’
Kjell-Tore Sandersen adds:
I was in contact with Rick Cobb on several occations in ’99 -’00 and sent him a copy of the song. He told me that he was considering to change the line ‘your fossils are the children of today’ to ‘your children are the fossils of today’ but he never did (apart from the lyrics on the record sleeve). When I told him that we (FF) actually had done that he was sort of stunned! According to Roy Long [co-producer of the tribute CD project], [Bloodrock bassist] Ed Grundy replied ‘I wish I’d play bass on the song’ after hearing our attempt. We were flattered, to say the least. The first bass-riff Nils Martin Brandvik learned to play after picking up the bass in 1971 was in fact ‘Breach Of Lease’!
With layers of electronic instruments and effects added to acoustic guitar and voice, the dark melodiousness (and terrifying political overtones) of Bloodrock’s original is dramatically emphasized. This is the most imaginative interpretation of any Bloodrock song ever recorded!
Download the song ‘America, America’ at this link.Powered by Sidelines