I believe I am not the only one who enjoys a bit of melodic value in my prog, and these guys definitely deliver! I love the long instrumental passages, but excellent vocals with great melody and harmony are just as important. All four members in Ambrosia sing, but the two lead vocalists: Joe Puerta and David Pack have incredibly warm voices.
They open the album with a very Yes-like guitar passage on "Nice, Nice, Very Nice" based on a poem by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Even the vocal harmonies have close similarities to Yes. An acoustic guitar duet opens the next song, "Time Waits For No One," and goes through several time changes culminating in a Russian balalaika section towards the end.
"Holding On to Yesterday" was the big hit single with its funky bass line driving the song. This was a precursor of the prog-less things to come for this band, though still one of the best top 40 radio singles of the mid 70s. More great songs follow, "Mama Frog" being of special interest to progressive rock fans. This is a great song, original and creative how a jazz motif builds into a spoken reading of Jabberwocky from Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking Glass. The song then breaks into an instrumental free-for-all, almost fusion. "Drink of Water" closes the album with its big sound, massive pipe organ, and choir-like vocals. Great ending to a wonderful album.
You can see why this album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Engineered album of the year, as the album is produced by Freddie Piro and engineered/co-produced by Alan Parsons. The two of them aptly utilize countless orchestral instruments and beautifully lush harmonies. This is an underrated band in progressive rock circles because of their later sojourn into hit singledom. The self titled Ambrosia and their second album, Somewhere I've Never Traveled are two of the best produced and played albums of the period IMO, and these are the years when many great albums by some of the top progressive bands were being released.
Reviewed by Terry Jackson on February 17th, 2007