WHEN THE ROADRUNNER WENT COUNTRY ON US

The Lloyd Cole solo series is hopefully demonstrating that he is someone who rarely got comfortable and settled with any one genre, always looking to test and challenge himself and his fan base.

Jonathan Richman is another who has done similar over the years, particularly since he dropped the Modern Lovers moniker towards the end of the 80s.

He surprised everyone in 1990 with the release of Jonathan Goes Country. Its twelve songs included five cover versions and the musicians he brought on board for the recording included some of the best veterans of the Nashville scene. The danger of something like this is that it could end up as too much of a gimmick but what you get is quite clearly a frontman having a great time and delivering his songs in the way he always has – the exception being that his musicians bring a different set of skills and playing styles than what his fans would have been used to. But he pulls it off with style as evidenced by the album opener:-

mp3 : Jonathan Richman – Since She Started To Ride

Indeed, some of the tunes, particularly the covers, wouldn’t have been too far out-of-place on some of his other records:-

mp3 : Jonathan Richman – Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad

This is an instrumental take on a song associated with Tammy Wynette and here Jonathan adds his own rockabilly/surf style in the background to the wonderful country-style guitar lead as performed by album producer D Clinton Thompson.

Like so many other great country albums, room was made for a male/female duet, with guest vocalist Jody Ross. This turns out to be more flamenco than country:-

mp3 : Jonathan Richman – The Neighbors

And, finally, for fun, here’s Jonathan’s effort at writing and recording a song in the style of Johnny Cash:-

mp3 : Jonathan Richman – You’re Crazy For Taking The Bus

The entire album is a little over 30 minutes in length.  It’s not an essential one to own, but it is worthy of the occasional listen.

JC

5 thoughts on “WHEN THE ROADRUNNER WENT COUNTRY ON US

  1. Arrgh! This is one of the few modern Jonathan Richman albums that I don’t have. I have never seen a copy, but would buy it in a heartbeat. In other “goes country” news; what about Graham Parker’s “Your Country” for Bloodshot records in 2004? That was another good one.

  2. Love everything Jonathan, especially this album. Have you seen him live lately? – The guy still has charisma!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.