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  • Learning to Crawl
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Learning to Crawl


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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sire / London/Rhino
  • ASIN: B000002KZQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,046 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Middle Of The Road
2. Back On The Chain Gang
3. Time The Avenger
4. Watching The Clothes
5. Show Me
6. Thumbelina
7. My City Was Gone
8. Thin Line Between Love And Hate
9. I Hurt You
10. 2000 Miles

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

CD ORG. PRESSING TARGET DISC

Amazon.com

The departure of bassist Pete Farndon, and the drug-related death of lead guitarist James Honeyman Scott in 1982, left Chrissie Hynde's Pretenders in disarray, but she and drummer Martin Chambers rallied to produce the stunning 1983 single, "Back on the Chain Gang" (dedicated to Scott), and over the course of the next year, cobbled together enough material for a new album, some of whose tracks included new members: guitarist Robbie McIntosh and bassist Malcolm Foster. Nontheless, the album held together due to Hynde's uniformly strong material, which ranged from the rocking, bluesy "Middle of the Road" to the near-protest tune "My City Was Gone," to the piercing "Time the Avenger." --Billy Altman

Customer Reviews

About this album... "Learning to crawl" is a powerful masterpiece.
Daniel Ágreda-Sánchez
As with the two other reissues in the series there's a booklet discussing the making of the album and the tracks eventually released as well as the bonus tracks.
Wayne Klein
Good rock will never disappear, and I feel that with bands like "Pretenders" there is a lot to revive.
Bettina Gongora

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By James Ferguson VINE VOICE on October 1, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This was my favorite Pretenders album and what a treat it is to find it remastered and in a nice little slip case with exclellent photos and liner notes, recapturing that era. Chrissie Hynde has endured a lot of hardships over the years, reshaping her band many times, but there was something really special about this group, and it shows on these recordings, which include some great extras such as live recordings of "My City Was Gone" and "Money." She had moved away from her punk roots, drawing on a wide variety of rhythms, including a long distance Christmas ballad "2000 Miles," which was a big hit in the UK. There is a Brit-rock feel to these songs, even when evoking her home state in "My City Was Gone." Fun to hear Martin Chambers on "Fast or Slow," and Robbie McIntosh show off on his guitar on "Ramblin' Rob," which didn't appear on the original album. You won't be disappointed.
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Format: Audio CD
Chrissie Hynde carried on with Martin Chambers after the death of James Honeyman-Scott (bassist Pete Farndon had already been fired from the band for drug use and would die two months after Honeyman-Scott died from a lethal combination of heroin and cocaine)with two members producing one of the finest albums of the band's career. "Learning to Crawl" was aptly titled for a band that had been hit so hard and was continuing.

Opening with the killer "Middle of the Road" with a riff fashioned by guitarist Robbie McIntosh (formerly with Paul McCartney, McIntosh has branched off into a terrific solo career of his own), Hynde demonstrated that she hadn't softened in her time away from music. "Back on the Chain Gang" and "My City Was Gone" recorded with Tony Butler on bass and Billy Bremmer on lead guitar(from Rockpile and a frequent guitarist on Nick Lowe's early albums)became a tribute to the band's spirit. Just about every track on here shows Hynde in top form and even the one track that isn't quite up to the other material (here's a hint--it's an older song that Hynde originally conceived of before the original ine up formed)doesn't harm the album because of the top notch arrarngement and performances.

This new edition sounds quite good however be aware that it is a bit louder than the previous release and a bit brighter sounding. These aren't bad things necessarily it just depends on your preference (although it does impact dynamic range). We get seven bonus tracks four which haven't been released before. Martin Chambers' "Fast or Slow" and Robbie McIntosh each get a composition the former of which was a b-side and the latter has never been released. We get demos for three tracks one of which "When I Change My Life" would show up on the next Pretenders album "Get Close".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tim Brough VINE VOICE on December 7, 2007
Format: Audio CD
After a classic debut album and a nearly as good second, The Pretenders should have been on top of the world. Instead, their world blasted in half. Forced to fire bassist Pete Farndon over his instability caused by drug use, then reeling with shock when guitarist James Honeyman-Scott died of an overdose days later, Chrissie Hynde and Martin Chambers found themselves as half of a formerly perfect whole. Tragedy compiled on itself when Farndon was found dead from drugs less than a year later.

Most bands would have thrown in the towel, but the surviving band-members went at making a new album with a determination to not let that happen. When the first notes of "Learning to Crawl" explode from the speakers, Chambers' solo drumshots are both symbolic (I'm still here, they seem to shout) and a herald. "Middle Of The Road" states the new rules with gusto as Chrissie declares "I'm standing in the middle of life with my plans behind me." Everything changed, and yet nothing changed.

This is my second favorite album after "The Pretenders" and - in my opinion - an indispensable 80's album. The subject of time and change permeates throughout "Learning to Crawl," from the obvious ("Time The Avenger") to the sublime "My City was Gone." The shock-wave of maturity brought force to several of these songs, but perhaps the best example was the subdued "Show Me," which could easily have been written about Chrissie's' child by The Kinks' Ray Davies. It's one of The Pretenders' most overlooked hits.

The standard for "Learning to Crawl," however, remains "Back On The Chain Gang.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Who else but Chrissie Hynde can take you from degradation to elation with one turn of a phrase? She is the most able voice in female vocals today. Forget Alanis, Jewel and Sheryl. Chrissie is the originator of this style. She is the next Billie Holiday. Brilliant.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By danielbradford@usa.net on June 4, 1998
Format: Audio CD
"Learning to Crawl" is the only Pretenders album I like. The album has 8 great songs and 2 so-so ones (tracks 9 & 10). "Learning to Crawl" merges the personal and political, allowing its listeners to feel/view the world as experienced by a working class woman: Chrissie Hynde, an Ohio native who wrote all but one of the songs on this album. Hynde, a former waitress who bitterly remembers the experience on "Watching the Clothes" ("I been kissing ass/Trying to keep it clean/Serving the middle class"), is the authentic voice of a working class person, a voice not heard on pop radio since Bob Dylan faded from the scene. "My City Was Gone" mourns the destruction of Hynde's childhood Ohio: "My pretty countryside/Had been paved down the middle/By a government that had no pride." Quick, name another pop song that has a funky backbeat and a social/political message. Hynde's voice, with its limited range, is an advantage rather than a liability. No pretty melodies here, just some five-star writing/musicianship
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