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The Friday Morning Listen: Jason & The Scorchers

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Nothing fancy… because it’s spring. Real spring. With flowers popping up and grass sprouting and birds making crazy up in the trees and blue sky and warm, sweet-smelling air. Hmmm, maybe spring is fancy. And simple.

Ah hell, all I know is that it was 60 degrees this morning and I wanted to roll the windows down on the way to work, pop in a CD and enjoy the loud and rippling waves of air.

Of course, just about any record with big guitars and sufficient inertia would probably do the trick. Maybe even something comfortable that I’ve head lotsa times before. But given that the spring season is usually thought of as a time of renewal, I figured I’d take the rock road less traveled and pull out the live nugget that is Midnight Roads & Stages Seen by Nashville’s Jason & The Scorchers.

I can’t quite remember the year of their minor hit “Golden Ball & Chain”. Musta been the 80’s. I loved that song but for some reason never made any Scorchers record purchase. Too bad for me. When I finally picked up this live record I was kind of amazed that this band never made it big. I mean, The Georgia Satellites had their day (really liked ’em, by the way), so why not Jason?

Well, can’t do anything about the past now can we? Much better to sit back and revel in a big, snarling, glorious mess of country-tinged rock. There have been many descriptions of this band’s mix of country, rock and punk. Forget the label. Forget the fact that you say you don’t like country music. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of country (not most of the modern stuff anyway) but this is tough to ignore. Where I come from, the name “Dale” only has one syllable in it, but that doesn’t stop me from soaking in the simple beauty of “200 Proof Lovin'”, the brilliant cover of Bob Dylan’s “Absolutely Sweet Marie” and “Jimmie Rogers’ Last Blue Yodel”.

My two favorite moments: the concert-opening “Self Sabotage”. Jason takes the stage announcing, “As Rudyard Kipling said, ‘He who rides the tiger finds it difficult to dismount'”, before launching into the kind of blistering rock song that makes a club seem to simultaneously expand, contract and heat up. Later, for the show’s first encore, Jason introduces the parents of guitarist Warner E. Hodges, Edgar & Blanch Hodges. Blanch says all the right things about her son and how they used to play music together when Warner was a kid. Blanch (dang, I love that name) introduces the song with “This is one I used to rock him to sleep with…”. Are we about to be treated to a Carter family-type thing? No, it’s a foot-stomping, explosive take on “Walkin’ The Dog”. Makes my skin tingle just thinking about it.

Beautiful… simple though. Like Spring. Nothin’ fancy.

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About Mark Saleski

  • http://dracutweblog.blogspot.com Mary K. Williams

    Sir Saleski:

    From now on you are REQUIRED to add an mp3 link to at least one song per FML. Got it? K?
    ’nuff said. : )
    (you tease us with this great stuff and then we cant’ hear it)
    OK don’t listen to me because I am not a boss. At least I am not the Boss of You.

    Yet. HA

  • Vern Halen

    This band is great – but I think this live album is out of print – anyone know if it’s still available?

    I picked up their collection of outtakes a few year back – there’s a version of Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love to Town) with guest Rick Richards from the Georgia Satellites on slide guitar – has to be heard to be believed.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    man, that’s a damned shame.

    i swear, i’m gonna go out and buy up everything else of theirs that i can find.

  • http://rodneywelch.blogspot.com/ Rodney Welch

    A friend made me a tape of this long ago, and we used to argue about whether their version of “Absolutely Sweet Marie” was better than Dylan’s. He preferred the Scorchers version, but I don’t think he had heard Dylan’s until I played it for him. I had the opposite view, but it was nonetheless an absolutely brilliant and very inspired choice.

  • Vern Halen

    Find their “comeback” album A Blazing Grace – great originals, and two killer covers – George Jones’ “Why Baby Why” and John Denver’s “Country Roads (Take Me Home)”, sorta the companion piece to the aforementioned Ruby.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    mary does bring up a good point (gee thanks…like i need more work to do!).

    uh, anyway. a buncha mp3s of this stuff (including “Country Roads (Take Me Home)”) can be found at the Jason & the Scorchers mp3 page.

  • http://trinimansblog.blogspot.com/ Triniman

    I realy dug the song “White Lies.”