Trouble No More
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Jamie Baum ~ Trouble No More
Before John Mellencamp recorded his classic Scarecrow, he learned hundreds of classic rock covers from the '60s. Here the Indiana troubadour ventures back to the very roots of American popular music, learning traditional songs associated with the likes of Robert Johnson, Son House, Howlin' Wolf, and Woody Guthrie. The result is Mellencamp's rawest album to date, updating the acoustic sounds of those early idioms for modern times while keeping them firmly rooted in tradition. In that sense, it's not unlike his hero Bob Dylan's two country-blues cover albums from the mid-'90s--though the ever-mischievous Mellencamp has a little fun with his definitions here, paying tribute to his Hoosier background by covering Bloomington native Hoagy Carmichael's "Brooklyn Oriole" and Lucinda Williams's 1980 ode to "Lafayette," while pulling a beautiful stark version of Skeeter Davis's wonderful 1963 country-pop ballad "End of the World" out of left field. The former James Brown impersonator has never sang better. The album closes with "To Washington," credited to Mellencamp, but actually a "borrowed blues" that's been used to address political figures as far back as Calvin Coolidge when recorded by Charlie Poole, the Carter Family, and Guthrie. This time, the song addresses one George W. Bush and surely won't gain Mellencamp any new fans among those who'd support a Dixie Chicks boycott. --Bill Holdship
Top customer reviews
He does provide some new lyrics to the traditional song "TO WASHINGTON". But the album's strenghts are his readings of such blues classics as Memphis Minnie's "JOLIET BOUND" and Robert Johnson's "STONES IN MY PASSWAY". A well produced and interesting cd from John Mellencamp that shows that he still has the fire.
I can see where some fans expecting to hear the rock 'n roll John Cougar Mellencamp might be disappointed. However, I wish these fans would give it a few listens before judging. This is great American music with a modern, yet authentic interpretation. Great recording quality, nice song selection, and excellent musicianship with a beautiful kaleidoscope of different instruments make this a disc that will get many repeat plays in my house.
A one star hit for the niggardly 47 minutes of material. In these days of digital technology and high priced CD's, those of us still purchasing whole albums would like at least an hour of music --especially if it is of this calibur. A minor criticism though as this is great music from a fine group of artists.
With Trouble No More, John has given us possibly the greatest album of his career, Scarecrow and Lonesome Jubilee included. His voyage into America's blues and folk heritage is simply stunning. His voice has now aged, and his ability to interpret and make a song his own have reached new heights.
And I would be remiss if I left out his band. John's bands over the years have consistently been some of the tighest in the business. I have seen them do amazing things at his live shows. But this remarkable CD showcases the versatility and sheer talent of his bandmates.
If this album does not win a Grammy for best album next year it will be a crime!!