Ignored Obscured Restored
Atlanta Rhythm Section (also known as ARS) was formed in 1971. The band was formed by combining members of The Candymen (sometimes backing group for Roy Orbison) and Classics IV (whose hits included “Spooky”, “Stormy”, “Traces”). They served as the session band for Studio One in Doraville, GA. They had substantial success in the ‘70s when their brand of Southern Rock was in vogue.
The band’s first five albums – ending with Red Tape (1976) – were not very successful, except with a loyal group of fans that followed the band in concert. Then 1976’s A Rock and Roll Alternative changed everything. It included the Top 10 hit “So in to You” and was given five stars in the first edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide (1979). Champagne Jam (1978) followed and offered another Top 10 with “Imaginary Lover.”
ARS toured extensively and was a very successful live act. They released an album to document their live prowess called Are You Ready! (1979). It included a 15 minute version of the concert favorite “Another Man’s Woman”, the third time they released the song on an album. The first was on their debut release – a five minute track on the eponymous Atlanta Rhythm Section (1973). To me, the definitive recording is the closing cut on Red Tape (1976). Coming in at about 10 minutes, it is tighter and has more energy than the live take, but still leaves room to show off the band’s soloing skills. It is ARS’s “Free Bird.”
Enjoy… until next week.