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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget Jack and Dianne...
...This JCM album is a different beast entirely. More rounded, more complete and more satisfying, essentially the best record he has made. I bought this originally on tape thanks to a glowing NME review and I still have that origional tape in my car today! The longevity of the album ensures it regularly gets a play too (I know, I should get a CD player or perferably a new...
Published on 27 Oct 2006 by Gellit

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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can Do Better
Probably Mellencamp's weakest album of the 80s. After major success with 'Scarecrow' and 'Lonesome Jubilee' Mellencamp loses his way somewhat. This album lacks a number of outstanding tracks that you will normally find on most Mellencamp albums and at times is almost bland, seemingly lacking direction. Saying that though, the album's saving grace is the quite superb...
Published on 12 Jan 2003 by Steven Moses


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget Jack and Dianne..., 27 Oct 2006
By 
This review is from: Big Daddy (Audio CD)
...This JCM album is a different beast entirely. More rounded, more complete and more satisfying, essentially the best record he has made. I bought this originally on tape thanks to a glowing NME review and I still have that origional tape in my car today! The longevity of the album ensures it regularly gets a play too (I know, I should get a CD player or perferably a new car).

The sound is more laid back and country than rock and it breathes sun kissed fields and lazy afternoons. Some terrific characters are introduced like the hard bitten Martha and the eponymous Theo and Wierd Henry, who's antics will resonate with those who have lived occasionally on the wild side.

His version of Let It All Hang Out is just superb and there are enough smiles raised throughout to counteract the serious questions raised on the likes of Country Gentleman and Jackie Brown.

Overall, just a brilliant, lovely, insightful, thought provoking and joyous album which I can recommend without hesitation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Hug, 23 May 2013
This review is from: Big Daddy (Audio CD)
Big Daddy is the introspected album by Mellencamp, in fact he hadn't admitted (in songs) to so much soul-searching until 2008-2010. This is the only Mellencamp album of the eighties written (nearly) entirely by him, with the exception of the hidden/extra track `Let It All Hang Out' ** a cover of a 1967 single by The Hombres (it's not listed on the original versions I own, but it can be selected on my old CD as track 12); it's a good version and was released as a single.
I think this album is beautiful and if you don't love it straight away, it will grow on you later. The vocals are not at the forefront of the production and there are quite a few instrumental gaps in some of the songs and atmospheric intros. It all builds into a reflective and quiet mood, for most of the tracks but not all: there are several energetic moments. The album is quite rich and full of surprises; in other words it's got depth, the listener has to be willing to peel the layers and take his/her time. I don't know if it is telling or not, but the lyrics were not printed on the cassette (nor CD) inlay. Instead, we get photographs of the band sort of huddled together and of John Mellencamp playing with and hugging his daughters Teddi Jo and Justice.
The album is not as folksy as the previous one: apart from the mandolin, violin, oboe and accordion, it is very much a guitar album, with great rhythm section. The album starts with `Big Daddy of Them All' ** at first it sounds like we're still in 1987, but the song spirals inwards into a very quiet number, the instruments echo but the vocals don't rise up because it is a song about growing old or disappointed; "You used to raise your voice so that it could be heard", not anymore: here Mellencamp mutters as if tired. On `Void in My Heart' *(*) the vocals are a bit clearer and the tempo gets up, it's biographical: mentioning his, then, 3 children, his job for the telephone company, his wealth, but also his soul and final rest. `Mansions In Heaven' * has a dreamy quality to it and offers another take on the theme of aging and dying. At the end of the album, before the extra song, there is a bluesy number called `J.M.'s Question' * a list of grievances compiled by Mr J.M. It's got nicotine, ozone, Farm Aid, a mean babysitter, preacher, lawyers, satanic message and more, including irony (or is it cynicism?) I like the "There's too much sodium in my heartburn medicine." JM conveys a feeling of tiredness very well and the question was rhetorical anyway, just as well `cos I must admit, I had to look up the lyrics online to get it all: the words are rather mumbled, great backing vocals.
The single `Jackie Brown' *(*) may seem like a good illustration for this album, but personally I find it too sad, even the violin is crying: it stands out because of its powerful images of poverty and offers no hope at all, whereas the rest of the album is more tinted with concern than desperation. BTW there is a newer version of this song on the 1999 album Rough Harvest, with warmer vocals and more upbeat tempo; maybe Mellencamp got depressed listening to the original.
It must be said that Big Daddy also houses some energetic tunes. On `Country Gentleman' ** the music is richer with some good clapping and at times gets loud and camouflages the words: doesn't matter, it is a critical portrait, the guy "just gonna help his rich friends" anyway, sings Mellencamp very matter-of-factly. `Theo and Weird Henry' *** is a tale of a friendship, the kind Springsteen might write, but the mood here is quite delicate somehow, though you can feel the smiling and the guitars driving the wheels of the old Ford van, a country-style leitmotiv that sticks in the head. I love `To Live' *** and its unusual start-and-stop structure: the dynamic parts get interrupted by some shy wordy sections sung very low, the vocals are pretty different to the way JM ordinarily sings, but it's about being confused, "a little lost", saying the wrong thing... I'd argue that "I'd rather fight with you than lay down and die" is a brilliant line.
`Martha Say' **** was released as a single, it's one of my very favourite Mellencamp's songs: the lyrics are entertaining, the vocals confident, and the tune has an infectious guitar riff; great for a party.

`Sometimes A Great Notion' *(*) has a nice upbeat background, it's very reminiscent of Mellencamp's album The Lonesome Jubilee, but for the lyrics which bring in mind the opening track of his 2008 Life, Death, Love and Freedom: "Sometimes the best plans have been known to go astray. So, you better put your seatbelt on. Just like your worst headache, well, a bad day don't go away. And, you hit the ground running against your emotions." Seems like JM has been torturing himself for a while... even though he was only 38 in 1989, he sounds quite resigned about it all.
What about the single `Pop Singer' **(*)? Such a precursor to the following album Whenever We Wanted, Mellencamp's loudest: it's an aggressive track, it's tongue-in-cheek ("Never had no weird hair to get my songs over... Who would want to look into these eyes?") and it adds great variety to the album. It seems out of place, but the words state Mellencamp's dissatisfaction with the music business (just in case we thought he got used to his success in the mid-eighties) therefore it fits with the idea of looking at oneself in the mirror.
Big Daddy is in my top third of all 21 studio albums by John Mellencamp. I cannot recommend it more if you are interested in John Mellencamp's career, this album's got a touching vibe and is very revealing.

For the record, I own all JM's albums. I have uploaded more reviews. I give **** max. to tracks I love, * to songs I feel are still worth listening to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Hug, 23 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Big Daddy (Audio CD)
Big Daddy is the introspected album by Mellencamp, in fact he hadn’t admitted (in songs) to so much soul-searching until 2008-2010. This is the only Mellencamp album of the eighties written (nearly) entirely by him, with the exception of the hidden/extra track ‘Let It All Hang Out’ ** a cover of a 1967 single by The Hombres (it’s not listed on the original versions I own, but it can be selected on my old CD as track 12); it’s a good version and was released as a single.
I think this album is beautiful and if you don’t love it straight away, it will grow on you later. The vocals are not at the forefront of the production and there are quite a few instrumental gaps in some of the songs and atmospheric intros. It all builds into a reflective and quiet mood, for most of the tracks but not all: there are several energetic moments. The album is quite rich and full of surprises; in other words it’s got depth, the listener has to be willing to peel the layers and take his/her time. I don’t know if it is telling or not, but the lyrics were not printed on the cassette (nor CD) inlay. Instead, we get photographs of the band sort of huddled together and of John Mellencamp playing with and hugging his daughters Teddi Jo and Justice.
The album is not as folksy as the previous one: apart from the mandolin, violin, oboe and accordion, it is very much a guitar album, with great rhythm section. The album starts with ‘Big Daddy of Them All’ ** at first it sounds like we’re still in 1987, but the song spirals inwards into a very quiet number, the instruments echo but the vocals don’t rise up because it is a song about growing old or disappointed; “You used to raise your voice so that it could be heard”, not anymore: here Mellencamp mutters as if tired. On ‘Void in My Heart’ *(*) the vocals are a bit clearer and the tempo gets up, it’s biographical: mentioning his, then, 3 children, his job for the telephone company, his wealth, but also his soul and final rest. ‘Mansions In Heaven’ * has a dreamy quality to it and offers another take on the theme of aging and dying. At the end of the album, before the extra song, there is a bluesy number called ‘J.M.’s Question’ * a list of grievances compiled by Mr J.M. It’s got nicotine, ozone, Farm Aid, a mean babysitter, preacher, lawyers, satanic message and more, including irony (or is it cynicism?) I like the “There's too much sodium in my heartburn medicine.” JM conveys a feeling of tiredness very well and the question was rhetorical anyway, just as well ‘cos I must admit, I had to look up the lyrics online to get it all: the words are rather mumbled, great backing vocals.
The single ‘Jackie Brown’ *(*) may seem like a good illustration for this album, but personally I find it too sad, even the violin is crying: it stands out because of its powerful images of poverty and offers no hope at all, whereas the rest of the album is more tinted with concern than desperation. BTW there is a newer version of this song on the 1999 album Rough Harvest, with warmer vocals and more upbeat tempo; maybe Mellencamp got depressed listening to the original.
It must be said that Big Daddy also houses some energetic tunes. On ‘Country Gentleman’ ** the music is richer with some good clapping and at times gets loud and camouflages the words: doesn’t matter, it is a critical portrait, the guy “just gonna help his rich friends” anyway, sings Mellencamp very matter-of-factly. ‘Theo and Weird Henry’ *** is a tale of a friendship, the kind Springsteen might write, but the mood here is quite delicate somehow, though you can feel the smiling and the guitars driving the wheels of the old Ford van, a country-style leitmotiv that sticks in the head. I love ‘To Live’ *** and its unusual start-and-stop structure: the dynamic parts get interrupted by some shy wordy sections sung very low, the vocals are pretty different to the way JM ordinarily sings, but it’s about being confused, “a little lost”, saying the wrong thing… I’d argue that “I'd rather fight with you than lay down and die” is a brilliant line.
‘Martha Say’ **** was released as a single, it’s one of my very favourite Mellencamp’s songs: the lyrics are entertaining, the vocals confident, and the tune has an infectious guitar riff; great for a party.

‘Sometimes A Great Notion’ *(*) has a nice upbeat background, it’s very reminiscent of Mellencamp’s album The Lonesome Jubilee, but for the lyrics which bring in mind the opening track of his 2008 Life, Death, Love and Freedom: “Sometimes the best plans have been known to go astray. So, you better put your seatbelt on. Just like your worst headache, well, a bad day don't go away. And, you hit the ground running against your emotions.” Seems like JM has been torturing himself for a while… even though he was only 38 in 1989, he sounds quite resigned about it all.
What about the single ‘Pop Singer’ **(*)? Such a precursor to the following album Whenever We Wanted, Mellencamp’s loudest: it’s an aggressive track, it’s tongue-in-cheek (“Never had no weird hair to get my songs over… Who would want to look into these eyes?”) and it adds great variety to the album. It seems out of place, but the words state Mellencamp’s dissatisfaction with the music business (just in case we thought he got used to his success in the mid-eighties) therefore it fits with the idea of looking at oneself in the mirror.
Big Daddy is in my top third of all 21 studio albums by John Mellencamp. I cannot recommend it more if you are interested in John Mellencamp’s career, this album’s got a touching vibe and is very revealing.

For the record, I own all JM’s albums. I have uploaded more reviews. I give **** max. to tracks I love, * to songs I feel are still worth listening to.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars big daddy ,big album, 30 Sep 2003
By 
This review is from: Big Daddy (Audio CD)
Come on this must be Mellencamps best album lyrically ,on first plays seems to lack the pop ,rock hits of past but will soon become a favourite ...trust me.

It plays like a story of characters you can visualize,and thoughts conveyed and struggles with the world ,best tracks for me "Martha Say'(love the 'spikey' riff),'Void in my heart'(best line-"I do charity work when I believe in the cause but my soul it bothers me still")and 'Jackie Brown' ,(just sad )

like springsteens tunnel of love ...only different.
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5.0 out of 5 stars if you have heard "The Lonesome Jubille" cd you will love this cd, 29 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Big Daddy (Audio CD)
You have to have this cd, if you have heard "The Lonesome Jubille" cd you will love this cd .
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 25 Feb 2008
This review is from: Big Daddy (Audio CD)
Sorry - like one of the other private reviews above - I totally disagree with Amazon's review. If you listen to this album a couple of times it really improves. 'Theo and Weird Henry' is great and 'Jackie Brown' is a superb 'social comment' song about a poor family in the U.S. - one of my favourite Melloncamp songs. I think if you like 'American Fool' and 'Scarecrow', you'll like this. (I didn't like 'Lonesome Jubilee' if that helps explain my taste).
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can Do Better, 12 Jan 2003
By 
Steven Moses - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Big Daddy (Audio CD)
Probably Mellencamp's weakest album of the 80s. After major success with 'Scarecrow' and 'Lonesome Jubilee' Mellencamp loses his way somewhat. This album lacks a number of outstanding tracks that you will normally find on most Mellencamp albums and at times is almost bland, seemingly lacking direction. Saying that though, the album's saving grace is the quite superb 'Theo and Weird Henry' a jangly, catchy road movie of a song. Like most of Mellencamp's albums that he produced himself the sound is superb and the group of musicians he worked with peerless. Arguably, 'Big Daddy' saw the beginning of the decline of Mellencamp's minor popularity in the UK. Hugely underrated in this country compared to the overated and blustering Springsteen the more subtle Mellencamp didn't do his UK sales any favours here.
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Big Daddy by John Mellencamp (Audio CD - 1993)
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