Atlanta Rhythm Section
Released: March 1978
Chart Peak: #7
Weeks Charted: 40
Certified Platinum: 9/26/78
It's said that if you play "Imaginary Lover" at about 38 rpm, the Atlanta Rhythm Section sounds just like Fleetwood Mac, which really isn't too surprising since both bands spin their mellow-rock concoctions around a thickly accented snare beat. But that's only half the story. If you listen to Champagne Jam without paying too much attention, it sounds just like any other ARS album.
Albums like this unlock a critical cobra: one must admit that the musicianship is first-rate while acknowledging that the more undefinable aims of art (growth, spontaneity, et al.) aren't being realized. So my doubting Thomas side asks the Atlanta Rhythm Section what they've shown lately, while the consumer's guide in me advises fans that Champagne Jam offers a toast very much like last year's.
- John Milward, Rolling Stone, 7/13/78.
You can tell these guys are from Atlanta -- it says so right in the name. So why do they sound like lazy Eagles? Why have they concocted a title that is the rock and roll equivalent of "cocktail jazz"? And when are they going to change their name officially to ARS, as in AWB? C
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
The million-selling Champagne Jam has the "So Into You" rewrite "Imaginary Lover" as well as the near-reckless "I'm Not Gonna Let it Bother Me Tonight." * * * 1/2
- Allan Orski, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
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