Customer Review

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5.0 out of 5 stars The bonus disc actually improves the experience!, 24 Jun 2011
This review is from: Tomorrow The Green Grass (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)
This is the Legacy edition of "Green Grass" which comes with five bonus tracks plus a stonking eighteen extra tracks albeit in demo format on a second accompanying disc. It was sufficient to persuade this punter to part with his pennies even though I do own a copy of the original album albeit unplayed for ages. Perhaps the first thing to do was figure out why I hadn't played it for ages.

Initial impressions are that "Tomorrow" is slightly less full frontal than "Hollywood", only slightly, there`s no dramatic shift. The soaring harmonies are still there and a violin appears occasionally . There's less of the fuzz guitar - that makes a difference - and there's very little organ. The songs, if anything, are catchier, though, of course that doesn`t necessarily mean better. The first three, "Blue". "I'd Run Away", "Miss Williams Guitar" all hit home superbly and Louris reels off one of those big solos on the last of the three. None of these three differ very much from the "Hollywood" template, but they're followed by much more variation. The very next track, "Two Hearts" is one of those sweet ballads that you could easily imagine Gram singing with Emmylou. The non-original, "Bad Time" is much more frothy than their usual fare but slips down nicely; Sharleen Spiteri's backing vocals and the duetting guitars adding interest to a relatively ordinary song.

"See him on the street" evokes memories of Chris and Gram harmonising on "Gilded Palace of Sin", with the comparison emphasised by the country guitar licks. Beatles touches appear in quite a few places, perhaps most noticeably on "Nothing left to borrow". I could have done without them on "Ann Jane" which I felt started brilliantly was doing very well as a slow country duet a la Everly's and was not in need of embellishment. The guitar intro to "Pray for me" sounds eerily like the Byrds and they keep some elements of that similarity right on through. You do get the feeling that they' were listening to a lot of records - I've not even mentioned The Band -just before they started to put this album together. The closing number "Ten Little Kids" is a rock-out which, along with other hints, suggests the band don't want to be taken as being too serious.

Judging the album just on this set of tracks, and without either the bonuses or the entire second disc is that, while it's good it doesn't have the force or consistency of its predecessor. They've tried to add much more light and shade (which I had hoped for) and additional complexity, some of which has worked, some hasn't. Holding this thought for the moment what are the bonus tracks like?

They`re all of interest. "Sleep while you can" starts well but again drops into sub-Beatles mode which spoils it. "Last cigarette" is absolutely great. Doubt if they would have had the nerve to put it on the main album. "You and I(Ba-Ba-Ba)" is rather nice as well; could easily have fitted on the main album, with or without the Beach Boys pastiche.

But it's the second disc which really does it for me. Much more of a folk club sound, occasionally a bit overly thythm guitarish but very appealing. I like the roughness in the harmonies (or, often, unison singing). And these tracks do seem to be more in a folk/country vein; it's not just the intimacy. The early cuts of tracks from the main album are great to hear but there are lots of other good songs. "Precious Time " with pizzicato violin and "Turn your pretty name Around" are great slow burners. And the hoedown "Cotton Dress" almost inevitably reminds me of the man's "Basement Tapes". Even though these cuts are miles from the final versions they still find room for little touches from the violin in particular which seems to wind through many songs and there's a Dylan harmonica pops up now and then, plus the acoustic guitar picking of course. I appreciate the generosity as well - eighteen tracks of this quality are more than nice to have.

It's the presence of this disc of demoes which for me, lifts this album into the 5 star bracket. It serves as contrast to the first set which I feel suffers slightly from over-production. With merely the first set and without the bonuses I'd have given it 4 and a bit.
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Location: Berkhamsted, UK

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