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Blue Earth Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, April 22, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

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Originally released in 1989, Blue Earth collects early Jayhawks demo recordings made between 1986 and 1989. While the band had produced a very limited run of their self-titled debut in 1986, this was the first mainstream release to provide a showcase for the songwriting tandem of Mark Olson and Gary Louris--a kind of Midwestern Lennon and McCartney who brought their bittersweet vocal harmonies and opaque lyrics to a nascent alt-country scene. Still rough around the edges, Blue Earth shows the young band very much in the thrall of the Byrds ("Five Cups of Coffee") and Gram Parsons in particular ("Commonplace Streets," "The Baltimore Sun," "Sioux City"). But also here are two impeccable songs that point the way forward: the sublime "Two Angels" and "Martin’s Song." Both would resurface in more polished form on their masterful follow-up Hollywood Town Hall. This 2003 reissue includes three previously unreleased tracks--"Fingernail Moon," "Two Minute Pop Song," and "Nightshade"--that are effective examples of the band at this formative period. Sure, greater things were just over the horizon, but no serious Jayhawks fan will want to overlook Blue Earth. --Mark Walker

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Two Angels
  2. She's Not Alone Anymore
  3. Will I Be Married
  4. Dead End Angel
  5. Commonplace Streets
  6. Ain't No End
  7. Five Cups Of Coffee
  8. The Baltimore Sun
  9. Red Firecracker
  10. Sioux City
  11. I'm Still Dreaming, Now I'm Yours
  12. Martin's Song
  13. Fingernail Moon
  14. Two Minute Pop Song
  15. Nightshade


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 22, 2003)
  • Deluxe ed. edition
  • Original Release Date: 1989
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Restless Records
  • ASIN: B00008WG4B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,254 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The Jayhawks Blue Earth record is a one of a kind! Or maybe two of a kind if you count their very first self titled album which is no longer available (OOP). This one is still available, and I strongly suggest buying it before it's not available anymore! It's on the very small Twin-tone label. One listen to this gem, and you'll understand where the Jayhawks came from. The pre-big label Jayhawks doing what they do best, and that's defining what good down home Americana music is all about. Talk about musical "hooks"! I dare you to try and count them on Blue Earth. The songwriting team of Olsen/Louris has never sounded better. These songs will stick in your head for years to come. Although I'm a fan of all the Jayhawks material, Blue Earth has always been my sentimental favorite because the songs are so real and unpolished. By that I mean, this album doesn't have all the glitter that some studio albums have. This sounds more like the guys got together in a studio and played the album straight through live, while having a great time doing it! Do yourself a big favor and pick this one up, then you'll understand where all the other great Alt-country bands came from. Remember, before Uncle Tupelo, there was the Jayhawks!
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Format: Audio CD
Personally, I think this album is awesome. It's my favourite Jayhawks album but I'm not sure it's the perfect place for someone new to them to start at. The Jayhawks with Mark Olsen were the definitive manifestation of the band in my opinion. Later albums are less country-ish but still great music with well crafted songs. The best of these, for me are "The Sound of Lies" and the rootsy, Byrds influenced "Rainy Day Music", although "Smile" is the slickest with all the hooks and catchy melodies you could desire. Start with "Hollywood Town Hall" and "Tomorrow the Green Grass" if you want the classic stuff - with Mark Olson and Gary Louris both still in the band, together they became one of those mysterious and exotic magical puddings, like Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris, Robert Foster & Grant McLennan (the Go Betweens) or even Squeeze's Glenn Tilbrook and Cris Difford (I'd suggest Lennon and McCartney except that no-one will know who they are). All very good on their own but outrageously creative and productive when working together.

On "Blue Earth" though, one song appeals to me more than any other Jayhawks tune; "ain't no end". It doesn't get mentioned in reviews but I think it's one of their finest. Olson's charismatic vocal style and Louris' dirty and loose guitar work make this one a real stunner. The 3 bonus tracks are also worthy inclusions. "Blue Earth" is raw, unpolished and unashamedly country - in a very good way.
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Format: Audio CD
The rereleased, remastered Blue Earth by the Jayhawks is the seedling from which some amazing Americana grew. Originally released in 1989 by the Minneapolis label Twin/Tone, Blue Earth showcases a young band with great promise. Sure the songs are not as polished and well crafted as those on Hollywood Town Hall and later records. But there is a certain rustic charm to the cuts on this album. The listener can hear Olson and Louris search to find their voices in these simple country-styled compositions. Songs like Five Cups of Coffee and Will I Marry show the beginnings of fine craftsmanship. Enjoy this record for what it is: a small gift. There are no professional session players, no big name producer. This is a few guys from the upper midwest saving up some cash for studio time, playing together while drinking a few too many Grain Belt beers. Sounds like Blue Earth to me.
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Format: Audio CD
This is THE BEST Jayhawks CD. After mark Left, the band was lightweight at best. His gutsy guitar and vocals are sorely missed. "Rainy Day Music" is the best of the bunch, but "The Blue Earth" is more honest and urgent. Forget all that crap about these "just being demos." Sometimes, the raw setting actually enhances the results. Such is the case here. If you like Gram Parsons, this is the best alt-country has generated in tribute to him.
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Format: Audio CD
The Jayhawks, perhaps the finest American country rock band of the 80s and the 90s have disavowed their country past and have gone rock/ pop - no great loss because their rock is as good as their country. That is to say, it's as good as gold. But this, their so-called 'first album' is a gem in a world of dirge. The upfront acoustic strumming, the heavily rock-influenced playing of Gary Louris and those harmonies conspire to insinuate a path into your brain where they stay for quite some time.
The Jayhawks come across on this record as standard-bearers for the Neil Young/ Gram Parsons school of country rock, with a healthy dose of pop smarts that seem to be missing from most other country rock bands. As they went through two more albums, they became less and less country but no less pastoral in their overall vision. Mark Olsen called it a day in 1995 to spend more time with wife Victoria Williams and Louris opted to keep the band going and going in a new direction. But Blue Earth is about the finest country record of it's generation and it appears on Twintone, the home of the Replacements. This is a recommendation in itself, never mind the fact that the songs are among the strongest written in the genre. Country acts starved of decent material need look no further.
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