This is the lone album from a couple of guys named, you guessed it, Richard, specifically main songwriter Atkins and his guitar/vocalist compadre, Manning. Originally released on Philips in 1970, it boasts an incredible collection of backing musicians, including Paul Revere & The Raiders? guitarist, Drake Levin, Country Joe & The Fish guitarist, David Cohen, The Electric Prunes? bassist, Mark Tulin, Poco?s Rusty Young on pedal steel, and Bread?s keyboardist, Lawrence [aka Larry] Knechtel. The original liner notes describe their sound as ?more melodic than the early Beatles, not as obscure as Simon & Garfunkle.? However, perhaps at the risk of ruffling the younger generation?s feathers, they fail to mention the occasional political bent (with a conservative slant) to Atkins? lyrics, as evidenced by the chorus to opener, ?Generation ?70,? which laments that ?There are some folks who do not love the country?,? nor the Christian element that seeps into several tracks (?God Give Me Strength,? ?The Finest Poet? ). Still, some searing guitar solos and Knechtel?s vibrant, burping keyboard make for a promising opening salvo.
There?s a bouncy, countrified gallop to the quirky, syncopated ?My Love Bathes In Silence? and Manning?s lone co-author credit adds a rather pensive aura to Kirby Johnson?s string arrangements on the harmony-filled, ?1:25 AM,? with a gentle flute and flickering keyboard backing revealing the duo?s folky side, as does the softly acoustic, introspective navel gazer, ?God Give Me Strength.? John Bahler?s brass arrangements pump giddy energy into ?What Makes Me Love You Like I Do,? which could have been a hit single with its jumpy, upbeat melody reminiscent of the Boyce & Hart-penned Monkees hits, while simultaneously bridging the gap between fellow soft pop duos, Seals & Crofts and England Dan & John Ford Coley, whose debut albums were released in ?69 and ?71, respectively.
?If I Knew You Were The One? is the album?s clear highlight, as it further illustrates the pair?s skills with an elaborate, suite-like arrangement that suggests a progressive influence that was in the air at the time, and ultimately succeeds in creating a glorious, Moody Blues-like melancholic atmosphere. The swaying, handclapping, toe-tapping, brass pumping ?More Or Less Nothing? is another shoulda-been-a-hit-single creaming for attention and overall, we have another winner from Fallout, who?re quickly becoming one of the finest reissuers of lost American classics. So if you?re not averse to digging out the occasional Seals & Crofts, England Dan, or America album, or are a fan/collector of Christian rock, you?ll probably want to add this to your collection. 8/10 -- Jeff Penczak (8 January, 2008)