Today’s “Cool Album of the Day” is the debut self-titled album by “Mudcrutch.”
I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never been the biggest Tom Petty fan. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s OK. I’ve liked some of this work but I think the best thing he ever did was his original single ‘American Girl’ and that was 1976.
But however, I really liked his “Mudcrutch” album.
Here’s what Mudcrutch was all about. They were Petty’s first band formed in 1970. The band did include a number of ‘Heartbreakers.’ They released a single and never amounted to all that much.
Here’s the lineup, Tom Petty on vocals and BASS guitar. Mike Campbell on lead guitar, Benmont Tench on keyboards, vocals. Randall Marsh on drums and Tom Leadon on rhythm guitar and backing vocals.
Tom Leadon is the brother of Bernie Leadon. You of course know Bernie from the Flying Burrito Brothers and some other band named after a popular American bird.
Another I liked about “Mudcrutch” is that it was recorded live in studio. It’s a shame that more acts don’t do that.
Highlights, lets go with the traditional ‘Shady Grove.’ (Think the Dillards on The Andy Griffith Show.) ‘Lover of the Bayou.’ This was an old Byrds song that was always very hard to find. In fact, I’m pretty sure they only place to find it was on a live album. ‘Topanga Cowgirl, Bootleg Flyer’ and ‘Scare Easy.’
“Mudcrutch” debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart.
It was produced by Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Ryan Ulyate.
The band did a short tour and released a follow up live EP later in 2008 called “Extended Play Live.”
Quite simply, a masterpiece. Was it the first country rock album? That’s debatable.
There has been so much written and discussed about this music that I’m not even going to try and invent an original idea.
Just listen to the music. I’d have loved to have heard Roger McGuinn and Gram Parsons stay together longer. But then Gram might not have gone on to to record two other great pieces of music (Gram Parsons and GP). And maybe he wouldn’t have gone on to discover (along with Chris Hillman) EmmyLou Harris.
Some of the classic songs here are Bob Dylan’s ‘You Aint Goin’ Nowhere, You’re Still On My Mind.’ Woodie Guthrie’s ‘Pretty Boy Floyd,’ and of course, GP’s ‘Hickory Wind.’