Sunday, 8 November 2009

“Music From The North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology" by THE JAYHAWKS (2009 America 'DELUXE EDITION' Version with 2CDs and 1DVD) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…Never Thought That I’d Miss You… That I’d Miss You So Much…"

American 88697 47043 2 is in tri-gatefold card sleeve with an extensive booklet and song choices overseen by key band member GARY LOURIS.

This is the 2CD + 1DVD 'Deluxe Edition' of "Music From The North Country: The Jayhawks Anthology" by THE JAYHAWKS. The DE is green in colour - the standard 1CD version is red.

Disc 1 has 20 remastered tracks from their 6 studio albums (the standard single CD version); a bonus Disc 2 which contains 20 rarities (14 of which are previously unreleased) and a bonus DVD that gives you 7 Music Videos Plus 2 EPKs (Electronic Press Kits).

Here’s a detailed track-by-track breakdown…

Disc 1 (76:29 minutes):
1. Two Angels
2. Ain’t No End
(1 and 2 from “Blue Earth”, 1989)
3. Waiting For The Sun
4. Martin’s Song
5. Clouds
6. Settled Down Like Rain
(3 to 6 from “Hollywood Town Hall”, 1992)
7. Blue
8. I’d Run Away
9. Over My Shoulder
10. Miss Williams’ Guitar
(7 to 10 from “Tomorrow The Green Grass”, 1995)
11. Trouble
12. Big Star
13. The Man Who Loved Life
(11 to 13 from “Sound Of Lies”, 1997)
14. Smile
15. I’m Gonna Make You Love Me
16. What Led Me To This Town
(14 to 16 from “Smile”, 2000)
17. Tailspin
18. All The Right Reasons
19. Save It For A Rainy Day
20. Angelyne
(17 to 20 from “Rainy Day Music”, 2003)

Disc 2 (76:10 minutes):
1. Falling Star (from “The Jayhawks”, privately pressed US-only debut LP limited to 2000 copies, never officially on CD before)
2. Old Woman From Red Clay (Alternate Take of “Two Angels” from “Blue Earth”)
3. That’s The Bag I’m In (A Fred Neil cover Recorded Live for KFAL Radio in Minneapolis in October 1989)
4. Won’t Be Coming Home (1991 Demo, Later Made Famous by GOLDEN SMOG)
5. Stone Cold Mess (Outtake from “Hollywood Town Hall” Sessions, 1992)
6. Mission On 2nd (Outtake from “Hollywood Town Hall” Sessions, 1992)
7. Lights (Victoria Williams cover specially recorded for the Various Artists compilation “Sweet Relief: A Benefit For Victoria Williams”, 1993)
8. Darling Today (Non-Album B-side of USA CD single of “Blue”, 1995)
9. Break My Mind (Non-Album B-side of USA CD single of “Bad Time”, 1995)
10. Get The Load Out (Non-Album B-side of a European CD single of “Bad Time”, 1995)
11. Poor Little Fish (Early Version, An Outtake from the “Sound Of Lies” Sessions, 1996)
12. Someone Will (1998 Demo for “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” from “Smile”, first aired on “Live From The Women’s Club Official Bootleg” CD in 2003)
13. Cure For This (1999 Previously Unreleased Track, has emerged as “Goodbye Kiss” by Janey Winterbauer and Marc Perlman on their “25:32:47” EP in early 2009)
14. I Can Make It On My Own (1998/1999 Demo from the “Smile” Sessions)
15. Rotterdam (1999 Demo of “All The Right Reasons”)
16. Follow Me (2001 Demo by Tom O’Reagan)
17. In The Canyon (2001 Demo, Outtake from the “Rainy Day Music” Sessions)
18. Tailspin (2001 “Early Version” Demo from the “Rainy Day Music” Sessions)
19. I Think I’ve Had Enough (2001 Demo from the “Rainy Day Music” Sessions)
20. Help Me Forget (2001 Demo from the “Rainy Day Music” Sessions)

Tracks 2 to 6 and 11 to 20 are previously unreleased

“…Anthology…” is produced by JOHN JACKSON and PD LARSON (who also does the liner notes) with superb mastering by GREG CALBI at Sterling Sound in New York. The sound quality is really clean and musically upped a notch (“Blue” in particular is gorgeous - lyrics for this review above). The 26-page booklet gives detailed backgrounds to each song (especially the unreleased stuff) and even if the print is tiny, it makes for a really entertaining and informative read.

I’d expected the quality to dip on Disc 2, but for the most part it’s actually a strong rival for the sheer melody of the songs on Disc 1. It’s really impressive stuff. Fans will adore “Rotterdam” the demo version of “All The Right Reasons” (surely one of their strongest songs) while the “Poor Little Fish” alternate is them stretching out into soundscapes they normally wouldn’t go anywhere near – and winning – I love it. Their cover of the Victoria Williams song “Lights” for her cancer relief CD project is both fantastically musical and poignant. The quirky videos for “Big Star” (bevies of babes petting the boys) and “Save It For A Rainy Day” (ballerina outfits and swimming pools) are just icing on an already rather cool little cupcake.

“Music From The North Country” is a superb overview of a great American band in the tradition of Big Star and R.E.M. – and classily done too. It truly is a shame that they’re gone. Recommended - big time.

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