THE JAYHAWKS - Music From The North Country (2009)
Pop music's road to riches is littered with the burnt out wrecks of bands like The Jayhawks. Somewhat overrated by many critics, their country rock charms somehow seemed pretty much lost on the Great American Public, and after six albums and two decades of strles and changing personnel, they called it a day. This lovingly compiled and annotated retrospective, (which also comes in a deluxe 3-disc edition featuring demos, out-takes etc, and videos) does a decent job of covering their entire career, and may well win them new fans. But it may just as easily sink ithout trace, too. We always thought we were doing something really original, declares their longest running member, singer Gary Louris in PD Larson's sleevenotes. In spite of this, their influences were mostly fairly obvious, with particular emphasis on Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers in the first phase of their career. The anthemic Trouble and Smile seem heavily indebted to The Hollies and The Beatles, and Tailspin sounds like a rewrite of The Byrds' version of Dylan's My Back Pages. Incidentally, their name was a sly homage to Bob's backing Band, originally called The Hawks. The trademark vocal harmony partnership of Mark Olsen and Gary Louris was sundered when Olsen unexpectedly left after their third album Tomorrrow The Green Grass. To his credit, Louris – a slightly less distinctive singer – soldiered on, with the newly recruited drummer Tim O'Regan taking the place of Olsen, who quit the band to make music with his wife Victoria Williams. There's even a song about her here – Miss Williams' Guitar. Big Star features the other most overtly biographical lyric, documenting the band's frustrations with their lack of commercial success, against one of their rockier arrangements: ''I couldn’t get arrested if I tried/…I'm gonna be a big star some day. It does seem cruel that The Jayhawks' highest placing on the Billboard album chart was number 52. Why, for instance, was a song as catchy as Blue not a huge hit? They were a good band, sometimes a very good band, though never, perhaps, a truly great one. HERE
DISC 1: 01. Two Angels 02. Ain't No End 03. Waiting For The Sun 04. Martin's Song 05. Clouds 06. Settled Down Like Rain 07. Blue 08. I'd Run Away 09. Over My Shoulder 10. Miss Williams' Guitar 11. Trouble 12. Big Star 13. The Man Who Loved Life 14. Smile 15. I'm Gonna Make You Love Me 16. What Led Me To This Town 17. Tailspin 18. All The Right Reasons 19. Save It For A Rainy Day 20. Angelyne
DISC 2: 01. Falling Star (from The Jayhawks) 02. Old Woman From Red Clay (alt.version, previously unreleased) 03. That's The Bag I'm In (radio session, previously unreleased) 04. Won't Be Coming Home (demo, previously unreleased) 05. Stone Cold Mess (previously unreleased) 06. Mission On 2nd (demo, previously unreleased) 07. Lights (from Sweet Relief) 08. Darling Today (Blown Away Soundtrack) 09. Break My Mind (B-Side "Bad Time" CD Single) 10. Get The Load Out (B-Side "Bad Time" European CD single) 11. Poor Little Fish (Early Version, previously unreleased) 12. Someone Will (demo) 13. Cure For This (previously unreleased) 14. I Can Make It On My Own (demo, unreleased) 15. Rotterdam (demo, previously unreleased) 16. Follow Me (demo, previously unreleased) 17. In The Canyon (previously unreleased) 18. Tailspin (demo, unreleased) 19. I Think I've Had Enough (demo, previously unreleased) 20. Help Me Forget (demo, previously unreleased)
DISC 3 - Bonus 5-Song Rarities EP: 01. Nine Stitches 02. Everybody Gets By 03. Boston Maid 04. Faded Memory 05. Desperate Serenade Woman's Club version (previously unreleased)
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