Guitar Man

Guitar Man

By the time their fifth album surfaced in 1972 it was evident that David Gates was Bread's primary hit maker, though standout songs like the grandiose title track and the lofty "Sweet Surrender" obviously benefited from his having an outstanding group by his side. Conversely, the melancholic "Aubrey" was a studio-forged ballad that utilized classical guitar, orchestral strings and a music box in lieu of a band. (It peaked at number 15, lasting for 11 weeks on the Hot 100 charts, paving the way for Gates' solo career.) But in keeping with the times, Bread began to flirt with harmonious country rock as evidenced by "Make It by Yourself," a pedal steel- laden ditty that sounds like it never would have happened without the proven success of the Eagles and Poco. Yet Bread's attempts at twangy songwriting or the implementation of crunchy guitar distortion on "Don't Tell Me No" never really pulled them away from their gauzy signature sound. Of course songs such as the summery "Yours for Life" prove that you don't have to appreciate'70s soft rock (nor pander to the hip irony of the musical genre) to understand that Bread's Guitar Man is truly an elegant album.

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