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Master of Disaster

John HiattAudio CD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

Price: $11.88 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Forty years into his recording career, John Hiatt has chosen to title his 22nd studio album, Terms of My Surrender. Surrender? Is that as in Cheap Trick? Or Appomattox? Hiatt laughs, tentatively, at the choice.

“It’s my Appomattox,” he says, wryly. “Really I don’t know where it came from, that idea of trying to arrange the terms of my surrender. I ... Read more in Amazon's John Hiatt Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 21, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: New West Records
  • ASIN: B0009F79NW
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,056 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Master Of Disaster
2. Howlin' Down The Cumberland
3. Thunderbird
4. Wintertime Blues
5. When My Love Crosses Over
6. Love's Not Where We Thought We Left It
7. Ain't Ever Goin' Back
8. Cold River
9. Find You At Last
10. Old School
11. Back On The Corner

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

John recorded 'Master Of Disaster' with the North Mississippi All Stars as his backing band. With the title track, he addresses the artist's midlife crisis and finds creative renewal in the process, a theme revisited in the country balladry of "Old School." There's a ragtime spirit to 'Wintertime Blues' and 'Back on the Corner', the insistence of a tom-tom's thump on 'Love's Not Where We Thought We Left It' and 'Find You At Last', a slide guitar that slices and dices through 'Ain't Ever Goin' Back'. New West. 2005.

Roots and groove mark this teaming of John Hiatt and the North Mississippi Allstars. On Master of Disaster, legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson and his sons Luther and Cody (the Allstars' guitarist and drummer, respectively) team with veteran bassist David Hood to give Hiatt's music a slow simmer rather than the high voltage fans might have expected from the collaboration. Yet the airy, organic interplay of the band provides the perfect complement for Hiatt's songs of folkish simplicity and lyrical grace. With the title track, he addresses the artist's midlife crisis and finds creative renewal in the process, a theme revisited in the country ballad "Old School." There's a ragtime spirit to "Wintertime Blues" and "Back on the Corner," the insistence of a tom-tom's thump on "Love's Not Where We Thought We Left It" and "Find You at Last," a slide guitar that slices and dices through "Ain't Ever Goin' Back." With "When My Love Crosses Over," Hiatt returns to the soulful, soaring romantic balladry that remains a signature specialty, while "Cold River" tells a story that probes the coldest resources of the human heart. The result is his richest and most consistently satisfying release since the late '80s. --Don McLeese

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anything But A Disaster June 26, 2005
Format:Audio CD
John Hiatt's latest release, Master Of Disaster, finds him in a more soulful mood, but still serving up good old Memphis boogie. The songs have a deep introspection and much of the Mr. Hiatt's trademark bite. The title track is a look at addiction in a musician's life. "Thunderbird" is a folsky tribute to his car of the title name, "Wintertime Blues" is a fun, full-tilt boogie shuffle about the ills of cold weather and "Back On The Corner" is a blues lament with a great, grainy vocal. The standout track on the album is the superb "Cold River". The song is built over a soft and pretty acoustic guitar and the song tells the tale of travel through the Midwest. John Hiatt continues to fly under the radar, but do yourself a favor and check out this album and the man's catalog. He is a great songwriter and you will not be disappointed.
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63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In an amazing career, an OUTSTANDING CD June 24, 2005
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
One of the things that you can go to the bank on with a John Hiatt disc is that it will be great. It's only a question of how great, and in a career that has had a tremendous amount of high water marks, this is an outstanding CD, possibly his best. All of the songs, from the self-deprecating opening title track through to the end are exceptional, classic, superb in every detail. Whether he's referencing his Welsh roots (what I'd give to see Hiatt and John Tams in concert together!), singing about his Thunderbird or the way a love crosses over a mighty river in a Hoosier take on Orpheus and Eurydice, Hiatt delivers compelling lyrics and driving rhytms in each song. Accompanied by the North Mississippi All Stars, Hiatt has a killer session group to execute these jems. They have an innate sense of where Hiatt is coming from, and play to the finesse of the song. They might be the best collection of musicians working today.

What you notice straight out is the drumming. Hiatt has worked with some of the best (Jim Keltner, for one), but every tune throughout the CD seems to jump at you because of the sophisticated groove laid down. The Dickinson family rose to the challenge in production and execution and whether it is a hard rockin work out or one of Hiatt's classic ballads, every aspect of each song resonates incredibly. This is a band to tour with, and if so, sell your house to get out and see them. Hard to imagine a better CD. When you think about how disappointing or formulaic most established rock acts get by this point in their careers, it is a cold and refreshing blast whenever Hiatt appears. Costello, Jagger, and a whole litany of also rans should take note. Even Neil Young could take a serious woodshedding session with Hiatt to get back to what he does best. And doing what you do best should be dharma enough for anybody. Get this disc. It simply doesn't get any better.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! June 22, 2005
Format:Audio CD
When I first heard that John Hiatt was recording a CD with the North Mississippi All Stars I was taken aback, being a fan a both bands, I thought at first it was a strange pairing. Well, whoever connected these two should be rewarded. Some of the credit must go to producer Jim Dickinson (father of Luther and Cody Dickinson of the NMAS) John Hiatt's songwriting and singing come to the forefront with a powerful but supportive role played by the NMAS. The Rhythyn section is awesome, and Luther Dickinson does a beautiful job of complementing John's songwriting with subtle but inspired guitar playing without overpowering it. In my opinion this is the best CD John Hiatt has recorded in a long time. I enjoyed the last album with the Goners ( Sonny Landreth is amazing) but still felt something was missing with that combo.

John Hiatt has gone back to his roots of writing and singing amazing songs. The back up band reminds me somewhat of the amazing Muscle Shoals house band who supported so many great artists.

This album gets my vote for album of the far.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another round of applause June 21, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Simple sweet poetry as always. Hiatt has never failed to take me away with him. Beautiful sound, that familiar crackly voice and stories that make me wish I could be there. If you like hiatt you know already you won't be disappointed and if you don't, then perhaps you aren't really listening.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LIKE FINE WINE.... August 10, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Man, I'm floored by the poor reviews of this disc. Listen, his mid-career stuff i.e. "Bring the Family", "Stolen Moments" etc. is phenomenal; but he has not lost one bit of touch or creativity with his last couple discs. While "Beneath This Gruff Exterior" was a top shelf punch in the chops from John, "Master" is a laid back and beautifully written piece of work. I'm a HUGE Hiatt fan, and arguabally each of his discs have one or two clunkers- this disc is no exception to that rule. But you also have a few could-be classics- The title track, "Howlin' down the Cumberland", "Find you at Last".... and a couple that are just hysterical- "Wintertime Blues" and "Back on the corner". LOVED IT.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable roots-rock July 10, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Every time an artist of John Hiatt's caliber releases a new album you can be sure that there will be people calling it the greatest thing he (or she) ever made. And there will be others ready to denounce it as the worst thing he (or she) ever made, a sell-out, a lapse into self-parody.

John Hiatt's newest CD is neither. It is a relatively low-key (but not quite mellow) collection of mainly acoustic songs, all of them good, several of them great. It's not another "Bring The Family"...the songs are not as uniformly great, and the mood is much less serious.
But "Master Of Disaster" is definitely one of Hiatt's better records. The first half of the album in particular is excellent; lean, smoky grooves and a couple of songs which must be destined for future Hiatt-compilations, like "Thunderbird" and the title track.
The second half takes a bit more time to assimilate, perhaps, with more introspective and less "radio friendly" songs like "Cold River" and "Find You At Last", but give them a chance and most of them will grow on you.

This is one of the rootsiest items in John Hiatt's catalogue, far removed from 2003's often hard-rocking "Beneath This Gruff Exterior". Hiatt sounds positively light-hearted on the folksy acoustic "Wintertime Blues" and the wry "Old School", but he has also penned a couple of his customary unsentimental love songs, particularly "Love's Not Where We Left It" and "Ain't Never Goin' Back".
There are plenty of hooks and good melodies here, and several up-tempo folk-rockers, but I can see why people who prefer Hiatt's more impulsive rock 'n' roll albums might feel that "Master Of Disaster" is a bit too rootsy for their liking.

Me, I think it's great. Almost great, anyway...maybe "really, really good" would be more accurate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album
While I've selected a few to be my "favorites" the whole album is good listening. I'm glad i have it.
Published 6 months ago by M. Castillo
5.0 out of 5 stars A terribly underated Hiatt Cd
This is a Hiatt CD that you need to listen to a few time before you make up your mind. After listening to it multiple times I have no idea why people rate it so poorly. Read more
Published 9 months ago by michael d.
5.0 out of 5 stars great music
these are such very talented musicians! and I love his style. His albums are always a good listen, entertaining, and enjoyable
Published 9 months ago by pen name
5.0 out of 5 stars good hiatt
master of disaster is a great john hiatt cd. of I have been an hiatt fan for many many years.
Published 10 months ago by larry hector
5.0 out of 5 stars A Home Run into the Cheap Seats
I love this album. It's a bit odd in places, but John Hiatt manages to make that a plus rather than a minus. Read more
Published 10 months ago by B. Goodman
1.0 out of 5 stars Received an empty CD case.
Very disappointed opening this CD package when I saw the package was empty, no CD.
Will be returning the CD case for another. Hope this one is not empty.
Published 22 months ago by rich kiehn
3.0 out of 5 stars Master of Disaster
Master of Disaster being Hiatt's 18th record and 2005 release is a sound that I have heard so many times and whilst it is not bad it is not that great either. Read more
Published on September 23, 2009 by Bjorn Viberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally, Some Stories Again
John Hiatt has made a number of excellent recordings, most notably the great trilogy of Bring the Family, Slow Turning, and Stolen Moments, three consecutive masterpieces that in... Read more
Published on July 8, 2009 by Karl W. Nehring
4.0 out of 5 stars SACD is incredible!
Most reviews here have focused on the CD version but where this recording shines is on a SACD player. Read more
Published on March 19, 2008 by Tony
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a wonderful bit of American music
Hiatt has a delightful capacity for capturing the beauty of Americana; MASTER OF DISASTER provides a sampler of a variety of music that's truly American. Read more
Published on March 7, 2008 by J. Carroll
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