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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Wow! This is country with a roaring rock 'n roll heart, and a delicious concept album packed with melodic, emotional but very literate songs. At times it reminds me of the best work of The Rolling Stones. Every track is great, but my favorites include the title track, Snake Oil, The Devil's Right Hand, Johnny Come Lately and You Belong To Me. I investigated Steve Earle because of Emmylou Harris' cover of his song Goodbye on her Wrecking Ball album, and I've not been disappointed. His growling voice is full of feeling and the band is brilliant. Sometimes bitter, sometimes tender, this is a masterpiece of breath-taking beauty.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2009
What can I say about Steve Earle? This, his third album which came on the heels of a stunning debut album (Guitar Town) and follow-up (Exit O). Once again he did not disappoint. This was possibly the album that resulted in most of us becoming aware of his talent through its title track, I know certainly it hooked me. There are some really outstanding tracks within such as Copperhead Road, Johnny Come Lately, Even When I'm Blue, Devil's Right Hand, Snake Oil etc. This album shows an artist moving away from county and country rock towards rock. There is a harder edge to this recording than on those that preceeded it. If you are new to Steve Earle and want to sample just how good he is, then I suggest you rush out and get this recording. Steve Earle may have equalled the excellence of this recording but I doubt that he has ever surpassed it!
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
With two good albums under his belt, "Guitar Town" from 1986 and "Exit O" from 1987, "Copperhead Road" was Steve Earle's 3rd record for the MCA stable and he had clearly hit his song-writing stride. I remember when I bought it at the time that it sounded just HUGE - and although he was considered a `country' artist, "Copperhead Road" was a really a blasting rock 'n' roll beast of a thing with some country tinges thrown in for good measure. Even the front cover and picture of him on the rear smacked of `attitude' - a snot-nosed punk on a Harley eyeing up your underage daughter with less than moral intent. From the opening track it reeked of bar-drenched alcohol and chemical substances that weren't exactly Milk of Magnesia nor Aspirins. In other words, it was a great big ball of rockin' fun - and that sense of kick-ass joy permeates its every track to this day. Released October 1988 in the USA on Uni 7 and MCA 1280 in the UK - like other big-hitters around that time - "Brothers In Arms" by DIRE STRAITS, "Kick by INXS and "...Nothing Like The Sun" by STING - it also had the then desirable DDD code on the back of its jewel case - a Full Digital Recording.

This 2 June 2008, 2CD DELUXE EDITION, is a 20th Anniversary remaster of that album with 17 live tracks thrown in on Disc 2 (many of which are previously unreleased).

DISC 1 (43:39 minutes)
Disc One offers just the album on its own and is a GAVIN LURSSEN remaster. His work on this is TRULY BEAUTIFUL. The sound literally leaps out of the speakers at you with a warmth and clarity that will thrill lovers of the album to the core. It was always a LOUD record as I say, and DDD, but that isn't always good, because it can become hard on the ear - something you want to turn down rather than enjoy. But here the remaster is subtle. If I was to nail down what's different - the DDD recordings of the time often had a clinical feel to them - like the essence of the live playing had been mastered away by the need for pure digital perfection. They sounded good for sure, but it often made the music itself, sound slightly soulless and gimmicky. Well this remaster seems to have taken that edge off the recordings and brought them back to life. You can HEAR the instrumentation now. The drums of KURT CUSTER hammer like Max Weinberg at his best without being too overbearing (Earle was a huge Springsteen fan at the time), the acoustic guitars and mandolins are all THERE in the mix too - a really great job done. Highlights would be the opening track, where the build-up is mind-blowing. When the band does kick in, you may find yourself resorting to unsightly air-guitar in your front room because you just can't help it!! The guitar and drums that introduce "Back To The Wall" are just fantastic, while The POGUES and NEIL MacCOLL from THE BIBLE put in raucous stuff on "Johnny Come Lately" (recorded in London). GARRY W TALLENT, the bassist with Springsteen's E-Street Band arranged the `gun' song "The Devil's Right Hand". There are also two softer moments on the album that are just superb -"Even When I'm Blue" - as lovely a song as he's ever written - while the country band TELLURIDE and Lone Justice's MARIA McKEE turn up on the LP's closer "Nothing But A Child". McKEE in particular puts in really beautiful backing vocals on it - harking back to the glory days of Stevie Nicks on "Rumours" and "Tusk". It ends the album on a real high note. The major disappointment here is the lack of outtakes or even demos or previously unreleased songs from the period. Which leads us to...

Disc 2 (78:17 minutes):
Disc 2 is entirely LIVE and is a very mixed bag indeed. First up is the CRAP SOUND. Having been treated to a fantastic blast on Disc 1, Disc 2 sounds like some poorly recorded radio show - it's not quite as bad as a bootleg, but I'm afraid it isn't far off it either. The recordings are hissy and strangely underwhelming. The crowd hollers through each song introduction and as it's a small venue, it gets irritating real quick. There are a number of covers here - "Wheels' is the CHRIS HILLMAN/GRAM PARSONS song from "The Gilded Palace Of Sin", the FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS debut album from 1969 and "Brown and Root" is a RODNEY CROWELL cover from the mid 1970s. Tracks 1 to 11 are all previously unreleased, recorded by the "Exit O" band in Raleigh, North Carolina on the 18h of November 1987. Track 12 was recorded in 1988 and is a cover version of Springsteen's "Nebraska". It turned up on a Spectrum Label CD called "The Collection" years back. Tracks 13 to 17 were recorded in Calgary, Canada in April of 1989 and featured as various b-sides the world over. ("Dead Flowers" is a Stones cover from "Sticky Fingers" and "Little Sister" is a George Trooper song). In truth, I can't imagine myself listening to these tracks ever again or considering them to be a 'bonus'.

PACKAGING:
The 4-way fold-out spread on the inside of the digipak gives you black & white photos of Earle most of which have been seen before - plus two colour shots - one of the beautiful blue Harley used for the sleeve and the other of him strumming an acoustic guitar. The 20-page booklet is hardly great either, a brief history of the album by roots music writer CHRIS MORRIS, lyrics, production credits - some photos - it's good, but hardly comprehensive. There's no inteview with Earle himself which would have explained what influenced whats song.

SUMMARY:
You can't help but think that Universal should have remastered all three of his first albums "Guitar Town", "Exit O" and this "Copperhead Road", added some really good bonus tracks and be done with it. It would have been far better value than this slightly underwhelming experience. Fans will want the remaster of the album on this DELUXE EDITION for sure, but the casual buyer won't need anything else.

To sum up then - a 5-star job on Disc 1 with a 3-star surplus on Disc 2.

PS: with regard to tape-remastering engineers GAVIN LURSSEN and ERICK LABSON - see also my reviews for The Crusaders "Gold" and Stephen Bishop's "Careless" for LURSSEN - and Steppenwolf "Gold", "The Complete Hits Singles" by Three Dog Night, "Buddy Holly" by Buddy Holly for LABSON. Fantastic work put in.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 13 June 2000
Try to ignore the fact that this classic is filed under "country" and try out the best work that Earle has produced. There is not one tune that you will not be stomping and singing to in days. The only caveat is that most of his other work is not this accesssible. This was the first album I bought on two formats (vinyl and CD). Enough said.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
With two good albums under his belt, "Guitar Town" from 1986 and "Exit O" from 1987, "Copperhead Road" was Steve Earle's 3rd record for the MCA stable and he had clearly hit his song-writing stride. I remember when I bought it at the time that it sounded just HUGE - and although he was considered a `country' artist, "Copperhead Road" was a really a blasting rock 'n' roll beast of a thing with some country tinges thrown in for good measure. Even the front cover and picture of him on the rear smacked of `attitude' - a snot-nosed punk on a Harley eyeing up your underage daughter with less than moral intent. From the opening track it reeked of bar-drenched alcohol and chemical substances that weren't exactly Milk of Magnesia and Aspirin. In other words, it was a great big ball of rockin' fun - and that sense of kick-ass joy permeates its every track to this day. Released October 1988 in the USA on Uni 7 and MCA 1280 in the UK - like other big-hitters around that time - "Brothers In Arms" by DIRE STRAITS, "Kick by INXS and "...Nothing Like The Sun" by STING - it also had the then desirable DDD code on the back of its jewel case - a Full Digital Recording.

This 2 June 2008, 2CD DELUXE EDITION, is a 20th Anniversary remaster of that album with 17 live tracks thrown in on Disc 2 (many of which are previously unreleased).

DISC 1 (43:39 minutes)
Disc One offers just the album on its own and is a GAVIN LURSSEN remaster. His work on this is TRULY BEAUTIFUL. The sound literally leaps out of the speakers at you with a warmth and clarity that will thrill lovers of the album to the core. It was always a LOUD record as I say, and DDD, but that isn't always good, because it can become hard on the ear - something you want to turn down rather than enjoy. But here the remaster is subtle. If I was to nail down what's different - the DDD recordings of the time often had a clinical feel to them - like the essence of the live playing had been mastered away by the need for pure digital perfection. They sounded good for sure, but it often made the music itself, sound slightly soulless and gimmicky. Well this remaster seems to have taken that edge of the recordings and brought them back to life. You can HEAR the instrumentation now. The drums of KURT CUSTER hammer like Max Weinberg at his best without being too overbearing (Earle was a huge Springsteen fan at the time), the acoustic guitars and mandolins are all THERE in the mix too - a really great job done. Highlights would be the opening track, where the build-up is mind-blowing. When the band does kick in, you may find yourself resorting to unsightly air-guitar in your front room because you just can't help it!! The guitar and drums that introduce "Back To The Wall" are just fantastic, while The POGUES and NEIL MacCOLL from THE BIBLE put in raucous stuff on "Johnny Come Lately" (recorded in London). GARRY W TALLENT, the bassist with Springsteen's E-Street Band arranged the `gun' song "The Devil's Right Hand". There are also two softer moments on the album that are just superb -"Even When I'm Blue" - as lovely a song as he's ever written - while the country band TELLURIDE and Lone Justice's MARIA McKEE turn up on the LP's closer "Nothing But A Child". McKEE in particular puts in really beautiful backing vocals on it - harking back to the glory days of Stevie Nicks on "Rumours" and "Tusk". It ends the album on a real high note. The major disappointment here is the lack of outtakes or even demos or previously unreleased songs from the period. Which leads us to...

Disc 2 (78:17 minutes):
Disc 2 is entirely LIVE and is a very mixed bag indeed. First up is the CRAP SOUND. Having been treated to a fantastic blast on Disc 1, Disc 2 sounds like some poorly recorded radio show - it's not quite as bad as a bootleg, but I'm afraid it isn't far off it either. The recordings are hissy and strangely underwhelming. The crowd hollers through each song introduction and as it's a small venue, it gets irritating real quick. There are a number of covers here - "Wheels' is the CHRIS HILLMAN/GRAM PARSONS song from "The Gilded Palace Of Sin", the FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS debut album from 1969 and "Brown and Root" is a RODNEY CROWELL cover from the mid 1970s. Tracks 1 to 11 are all previously unreleased, recorded by the "Exit O" band in Raleigh, North Carolina on the 18h of November 1987. Track 12 was recorded in 1988 and is a cover version of Springsteen's "Nebraska". It turned up on a Spectrum Label CD called "The Collection" years back. Tracks 13 to 17 were recorded in Calgary, Canada in April of 1989 and featured as various b-sides the world over. ("Dead Flowers" is a Stones cover from "Sticky Fingers" and "Little Sister" is a George Trooper song). In truth, I can't imagine myself listening to these tracks ever again or considering them to be a 'bonus'.

PACKAGING:
The 4-way fold-out spread on the inside of the digipak gives you black & white photos of Earle most of which have been seen before - plus two colour shots - one of the beautiful blue Harley used for the sleeve and the other of him strumming an acoustic guitar. The 20-page booklet is hardly great either, a brief history of the album by roots music writer CHRIS MORRIS, lyrics, production credits - some photos - it's good, but hardly comprehensive. There's no inteview with Earle himself which would have explained what influenced what song.

SUMMARY:
You can't help but think that Universal should have remastered all three of his first albums "Guitar Town", "Exit O" and this "Copperhead Road", added some really good bonus tracks and be done with it. It would have been far better value than this slightly underwhelming experience. Fans will want the remaster of the album on this DELUXE EDITION for sure, but the casual buyer won't need anything else.

To sum up then - a 5-star job on Disc 1 with a 3-star surplus on Disc 2.

PS: with regard to tape-remastering engineers GAVIN LURSSEN and ERICK LABSON - see also my reviews for The Crusaders "Gold" and Stephen Bishop's "Careless" for LURSSEN - and Steppenwolf "Gold", "The Complete Hits Singles" by Three Dog Night, "Buddy Holly" by Buddy Holly for LABSON. Fantastic work put in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2009
Steve Earle rocks it up on this album. Very strong songs without being morbid. Certainly on a par with Guitar town for good listening and not heavily into political statement which comes later in his carrer. A good introduction to a great and highly regarded artist, and this would definitely have you seeking out further titles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2012
I read some of the other reviews and was a bit sceptical about buying this edition but on receiving it, in extremely quick time I must say, I was very pleased I had gone ahead. It is great and ,in my opinion the live one is teriffic, the noise from the crowd only adding to the atmosphere. If you like Steve Earle buy it.
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on 3 October 2013
Steve Earle is a bit of an acquired taste musically. You love him or you hate him, I'm the former. Personally I think this is his finest album and he has never bettered it. Copperhead Road title track is perhaps the best known, but all the tracks on here are excellent and there is a good variety of up tempo numbers. Snake Oil and Johnny come lately are particularly of note. If you only own one of his albums then this is probably the one to buy and listen to.
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My pre-knowldege of this album was limited; "Devil's Right Hand" I knew and loved, from the time I had seen him perform it at Cambridge Folk Festival. However, the album is certainly bigger than the one track I knew.

I believe that there may be better Steve Earle albums out there waiting. If so, they must be very good indeed.

Excellent stomping country-rock which grabs you by the balls and doesn't really let-up.
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on 30 March 2014
I bought this for the title track, which has always been a favourite of mine, but was pleasantly surprised by the rest of the album. True Southern style Rock n' Roll. Not a bad track on the album. Buy it and dance!
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