Lou Christie Sacco “Paint America Love”

Paint America Love buzz

This is probably Lou Christie’s greatest artistic statement to date.  Paint America Love was an ambitious statement by Christie, a total departure from the Four Seasons influenced bubblegum pop he had been releasing throughout the 60s.  His best known songs from the mid 60s were the hits “Lightning Strikes” and “Rhapsody in the Rain.”   Christie was a truly great, underrated artist though and it’s worth noting that he would reinvent his career from bubblegum to sophisticated pop to country, always with great success artistically and commercially. 

Paint America Love was released in 1971 on Buddah.  All the songs were written by Christie and they are a complex, sprawling mixture of pop and Americana.  The arrangements are adventurous and lush as heard on the gorgeous instrumental Campus Rest.  This was no doubt Lou Christie’s Pet Sounds though in musical style, it’s much closer to Sunflower or Surf’s Up.  Christie’s vocals are still wonderful (he has a magical falsetto) and a definite highpoint on this lp.   One can hear shades of his 60s work in the country-rocker Chuckie Wagon – there’s some interesting fiddle and a great chorus on this one.  Some of these tracks take on ecological themes like the pop friendly “Paper Song” while others are a bit more complex like “Lighthouse,” “Paint America Love” and “Wood Child.”  Many consider these tracks the best of Lou Christie’s career although after this lp he would release a good country lp which is also recommended (Beyond The Blue Horizon from 1973). 

But there are other pleasures to behold on Paint America Love,  like the astonishing Beach Boys inspired “Waco” and the achingly tuneful “The Best Way To See America.”  Every track is inspired, the lyrics are personal and the songcraft is very strong.  Paint America Love was one of the best off-the-radar releases from 1971 – it’s as good as early 70s pop gets.  The album finally saw a cd release by Re-Ola in 2008.

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“The Best Way To See America”

:D CD Reissue | 2008 | Revola | buy at revola | amazon ]
:) Original Vinyl | 1971 | Buddah | search ebay ]

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  • poseur

    a masterpiece.

  • Tim Thomas

    Hello! I agree! I absolutely love this disc/LP! It’s my favorite work by my favorite artist! I’ve met & seen Lou perform 6 times now in 5 states! Thanks for a great review!
    Tim Thomas
    Brunswick, GA

  • Christopher Thomas

    Actually, Christie co-wrote seven of the nine songs here with longtime collaborator Twyla Herbert. The other two were written by Tony Romeo, who also placed songs with The Partridge Family and The Cowsills.

    But otherwise, right on. Great album!

  • Alan Poland

    Hey now….I’ve been listening to this guy since 1962….even knew Kay Chick, one of his backups from “the day”, when the Gypsy was still cryin’! I grew up in the same area, even went to Moon Twp. for a year! When I hear his music, it REALLY takes me back..WAY back! And, music being timeless, this is the best I could ever hope for and expect from Lou’s unmistakeable sound. This guy IS, and always has been, THE REAL DEAL!!
    But help me out here….where can I get the albums from the 70’s?? The LIVE album?? I’ve looked on Amazon, so…. any Pennsylvania People out there?? Shout out!!

  • Alan Poland

    Help me out here….where can I get some of the music that was referred to above????

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