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What the Hell Is Goin On?


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Audio CD, May 8, 2012
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What the Hell Is Goin On? + Pimps & Preachers + Too Blessed to Be Stressed
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Editorial Reviews

What The Hell is Goin On? Is exactly the question that many fans of songwriter and Billboard-charting recording artist Paul Thorn will be asking when they hear he s releasing an album made up entirely of cover songs. Thorn has assembled a collection of mostly unheralded songs that felt to him like he could have written them. The result is a collection of diverse tunes-penned by a range of writers from Buddy Miller and Allen Toussaint to Lindsay Buckingham/Stevie Nicks. The album features Paul backed by his longtime touring band and includes contributions from Delbert McClinton and Elvin Bishop plus special guests the McCrary sisters. It builds on the breakout success of his last release, Pimps and Preachers, which garnered him his first placement on the Billboard Top 100 album chart.

1. What the Hell is Goin On
2. Shelter Me Lord
3. Wrong Number
4. Shed A Little Light
5. Walk In My Shadow
6. Don t Let Me Down
7. Snake Farm
8. Bull Mountain Bridge
9. Jukin
10. She s Got A Crush On Me
11. Small Town Talk
12. Take My Love With You

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Perpetual Obscurity Records
  • ASIN: B007MJ9LNO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,353 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By hyperbolium on May 16, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Paul Thorn is a Mississippi bluesman whose earlier career as a boxer still echoes in his gruff growl. Though well-known for his original, biographical songs, Thorn's sixth album is an all-covers affair. Singing the songs of other writers is a complex task, one that reflects on Thorn's understanding of songwriting craft as well as his visceral experience as a listener. He poses this set as an opportunity to "take a break from myself," but his selections from others' pens say a great deal about his musical roots, influences and tastes. Most of his picks are sufficiently obscure to avoid even registering as covers for many listeners; but these are interpretations rather than explanations, and Thorn's fans will marvel at how easily he draws these songs into his personal orbit. This is a mix tape, but one in which the mixer sings the songs rather than having lined up other people's performances on a C90.

Thorn's voice has a clenched, raspy edge that variously brings to mind Dr. John, Jon Dee Graham, Willy DeVille, John Hyatt, Lyle Lovett, Randy Newman, Joe Cocker, Tom Waits and even a bit of Louis Armstrong. He doesn't sound like any one of them, but your ears will catch passing associations as he work through a wide-ranging catalog drawn from Ray Wylie Hubbard, Buddy Miller, Elvin Bishop, Allen Toussaint and others. Each recitation balances flavors from the original recordings with Thorn's own sound, retaining the signature rolling rhythm of Lindsey Buckingham's early "Don't let Me Down Again" while lowering its youthful freneticism, magnifying the blue side of Free's "Walk in My Shadow," and giving Muscle Shoals' legend Donnie Fritts' "She's Got a Crush on Me" the soul vocal it really deserves.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Bradt on May 14, 2012
Format: Audio CD
...this is how you do it. Paul has taken an eclectic group of songs, from Paul Rodgers and Bad Company to Wild Bill Emerson to Elvin Bishop and made them his own. The band is whipcord sharp, the singing great as usual and between Delbert and the McCrary sisters (and Etta Britt).

I'm biased because I'm HUGE fan but these guys know how to rock and roll. Way to go guys, see you in August!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PM Blues on August 3, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I heard this CD at a recent Winthrop Blues Festival from an adjoining camper and thought it was great. So, I had to buy it when I found it on Amazon. Outstanding songs like Snake Farm and What the hell is going on are worth the price alone. Then you add a few more goodies like "take my love with you" and "Jukin" and you have a groovy piece of music to enjoy. You do have to listen to this CD, it grows on you, like good scotch....savor the flavor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rhonda Carpenter on January 7, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
His raspy, unpolished voice on these cover songs is just what I was looking for. How can you get these songs out of your head? Love him since hearing him on a local college station and will buy more of his work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Halfton57 on December 18, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
This CD isn't perfect but I have listened to it several time and it seems to get better every time I hear it. I'm sure that anyone who is a Paul Thorn fan will enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mathew J. Mills on June 5, 2013
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Paul Thorn's CD is fantastic! He delievers on both singing/song writing abilities.As well as great Rock N roll /Americana music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alan in SF on May 5, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Paul Thorn is a wonderful singer songwriter. his lyrics come from his life experience, and they also share the lessons he learned with the listener.
Musically the band is very together. The style is somewhere in the country-folk-rock genre.
If you get an opportunity, go see his live performances.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By billy hayden on May 3, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
paul thorn takes his life story and tells it with music, with an authentic voice, and music that stays in your head.
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