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Just an American Boy Live

28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, September 23, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

(2003/ARTEMIS US) 26 tracksMedium 1
  1. Audience Intro
  2. Amerika v. 6.0 (The Best We Can Do)
  3. Ashes To Ashes
  4. Paranoia
  5. I Remember You
  6. Schertz, Texas
  7. Hometown Blues
  8. The Mountain
  9. Pennsylvania Miners
  10. Harlan Man
  11. Copperhead Road
  12. Guitar Town
  13. I Oppose The Death Penalty
  14. Over Yonder (Jonathan's Song)
  15. Billy Austin
Medium 2
  1. Audience Intro
  2. South Nashville Blues
  3. Rex's Blues
  4. John Walker's Blues
  5. Jerusalem
  6. The Unrepentant
  7. Christmas In Washington
  8. What's So Funny About Peace, Love & ...
  9. Time You Waste (JUSTIN EARLE)

This double live CD, recorded with the Dukes on their tour supporting Earle's 2002 album Jerusalem, takes its title from "John Walker's Blues," Earle's song about John Walker Lindh, "the American Taliban"--a song that got him Dixie Chick-ed off adult contemporary and country rock stations across the U.S. Subtitled "an audio documentary," the album coincides with the release of a feature film that follows Earle as he tours, mounts a play, and campaigns against the death penalty. Earle talks quite a bit between songs; his monologues are affable, entertaining, and leftist. Along with Woody Guthrie and D. Boon, Earle's one of those rare musical activists who understands that successful political songs must have music that's exceptional and politics that are personal. There are extraordinary renditions of some of his finest soapbox songs, including "John Walker," "Harlan Man," "Christmas in Washington," and "Billy Austin." A couple of tunes that sounded stiff on Jerusalem--"Ashes to Ashes" and "Conspiracy Theory"--receive far better, and more rocking, treatment here, while "Copperhead Road" is turned into a Scots-Irish reel, which works surprisingly well. The highlight is a take-no-prisoners cover of Nick Lowe's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love & Understanding." --Mike McGonigal

Disc: 1
1. Audience Intro
2. Amerika v. 6.0 (Tthe Best We Can Do)
3. Ashes to Ashes
4. (Paranoia)
5. Conspiracy Theory
6. I Remember You
7. (Schertz, Texas)
8. Hometown Blues
9. The Mountain
10. (Pennsylvania Miners)
See all 16 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Audience Intro
2. South Nathville Blues
3. Rex's Blue's/ Fort Worth Blues
4. John Walker's Blues
5. Jerusalem
6. The Unrepentant
7. Christmas In Washington
8. (Democracy)
9. What's So Funny About Peace, Love & Understanding
10. Time You Waste (Justin Earle)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 23, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Artemis Records
  • ASIN: B0000AOV39
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,868 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Teresa Lynch on September 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Outstanding! A must-have for all serious Steve Earle fans. Very much replicates the live concert experience, so if you missed him during the JERUSALEM tour this year, or if you caught the tour but have been wondering why he doesn't play in your living room every night, you will be delighted to find that now he does. :) Bribe the neighbors, crank the volume - these boys will blow you away. The sound is raw and vibrant, the energy often explosive, the feeling warm and pulsing with life. (Kinda like a Steve Earle concert.) If you're looking for a work of engineering brilliance, a clean, crisp sound, stick to the studio albums. If you're looking for Steve Earle and his Dukes (regular and bluegrass) to come and play in your living room, you're in the right place.
This said, I'd recommend first-time listeners start with one of his studio albums, rather than this one. Steve Earle can be an acquired taste, and there are better places to start than a live concert recording. When in doubt, EL CORAZON is always a good introduction.
Songs that stand out: Relentlessly powerful, driving, energetic versions of "Amerika v.6.o", "Ashes To Ashes", "The Unrepentant" and "Copperhead Road", an equally spirited and rocking "Harlan Man" (it reaches down so deep it's almost funky), outstanding renditions of "Jerusalem", "Jonathon's Song", "South Nashville Blues" (I swear you can see the devil sitting in his rocking chair), an understated tribute to Townes Van Zandt in a "Rex's Blues/Fort Worth Blues" medley that goes to that place beyond words, and "The Time You Waste", a quiet gem by Justin Earle that's growing on me by the minute. "Billy Austin", powerful and heart-stopping as always.
You pretty much need this album. Open your window - let the music inside.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By KIWRadioFREEblues on December 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
October 27, 2003

Steve Earle

Just An American Boy

Very Good EXCELLENT but not yet Great

Among musicologists "live" albums are rated separately from studio and greatest hits albums. Probably the most heralded live albums are The Who's, 'Live at Leeds' and then The Allman Brother's, 'Live at the Fillmore.' Steve Earle's latest, 'Just An American Boy: The Audio Documentary' deserves consideration as a landmark live album. While rappers have successfully turned their "art" into a money printing bling-bling caricature of the ghetto, it has been a long time since Rock Music has been this dangerous.

This is a two disc set and there is plenty of rambling on the microphone between songs. Make no mistake, while the music is excellent, what makes this record so interesting is that Earle uses his liberal political bantering to tie together his songs and give his performance a sense of continuity. If you are offended by overt political statements you won't enjoy this record; on-the-other-hand, those banterings are what make this album so inspiring: the listener's political beliefs are challenged in the best Woody Guthrie tradition.

In regard to the music, Earle has hit a stride of excellence. Earle is a powerful thought provoking song writer. Like the folk music of the '60's, Earle has tapped into the long forgotten art of anti-war protest. Earle can write "great" songs with poignant words and execute with brilliance. Originally marketed as a country artist Earle has become the political sage of edgy Americana. This record is dangerous because the words and the related call to action & thought are two things that the vapid FM rock music of today has forgotten. Based on this disc Earle could well be the finest example of Americana recording today.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Carlos R. Pastrana on September 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I had the inmense pleasure and honor of taking in a Steve Earle and the Dukes show in West Palm Beach several months ago... The performance I attended was several notches better than the one recorded for this two-disc live album. For starters, that evening Steve played a set almost twice as long as the one included here, which featured all of these songs, plus (as far as I can remember): NYC, Hardcore Troubadour, Taneytown, Some Dreams, What's A Simple Man to Do?, Go Amanda, The Truth, and Some Day, plus a cover of the Youngbloods' burnt-out-hippie-classic Get Together. Additionally, Steve and his band were a little better that night, and the sound carried much better than it seemed to carry in the recorded performance. That, however, is not to say that this live album does not have its merits: Steve and the Dukes kick the stuffing out of several songs, most notably Ashes to Ashes, The Unrepentant, and the much-maligned John Walker's Blues. Anyways, compared to Shut Up and Die Like an Aviator, the concert with Guy Clark and Townes Van Zant, and the Trascendental Blues DVD, this recorded performance is, by far far far the best recorded live Steve Earle and the Dukes.
One other comment, specifically on John Walker's Blues... True, Steve over-simplifies matters a bit on this song, blaming hollow American culture on young John Walker Lindh's conversion to fundamentalist Islam. True, the tone of the song tends to be preachy.
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