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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 7 March 2017
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on 1 August 2003
I really really love this album. It's a bit darker, more searching and has the both tough and soft songs that makes a Steve Earle album great. "The other kind" has to be one of the best songs ever made. He wanders from the backalleys in Hollywood to his biker friends in Canada, from pure pop through harder rock to so senstive it makes you cry. To be able to tell a story like "Billy Austin" without making it into something pathetic and fingerpointing takes a very good songwriter. To offer your soul on a plate like in "Have mercy" takes a lot of guts. Then we have the fun, normal workingclass hero playing his own kinda country in "Regular guy" and "Country girl" with what I guess is a fuzzed up accordion. To me this is the searching, trying to find some new way to give us his music, Steve Earle. Just buy his best ever album.
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on 22 September 2002
I make no bones about it. I think Steve Earle is the 20th Century's greatest song writer (and probably the 21st as well). When I sat down and decided to create a tape of my favourite tracks, I put on this album to assess it. I decided there were very few tracks (if any) that could be left off. Nobody over 30 can fail to adopt 'The Other Kind' as their theme tune. You might be from the 'hang 'em high' brigade - but you will shed a tear at 'Billy Austin'. Not his most accessable album but well worth gettting to know.
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on 25 September 2002
I think this is Steve's best album ever! Starting out with the magnificent "The other kind". A darker and more searching Steve wanders through Hollywoods backalleys in "Esmeraldas Hollywod" and defends his bikerfriends in "Justice in Ontario". Feels like he's trying out new ways of delivering his music, both really soft and at times really hard.Just go buy it!
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on 8 April 2008
To start with 'the Hard Way' is a completely shambolic, incoherent car crash of an album. But thats what makes it so special in my opinion. Steve Earle's vast array of problems during the early 90's are well documented and the fact that this album exists as a permanent reminder of a real make or break time in Earle's life is probably the main reason why he himself never or very rarely plays tracks from this monumental effort.
"I'll defend the 'The Hard Way' to the death because I nearly died making it" are words used by Steve when used to describe how he feels now about the album and from the opening, fist pumping, never-say-die anthem 'The Other Kind' to the closing FM rock tear jerker'Close Your Eyes' you will be left with no doubt that this album is the sound of a man falling apart and with nothing left to lose. He may have gone on to record more acclomplished albums, more critically acclaimed albums and perhaps even better albums overall but 'The Hard Way' stands alone in terms of aggression, honesty, guts and pure passion. Steve reflects alot on the pain in his life and he does it beautifully on other more reflective efforts like 'Train A Coming' and 'Transcendental Blues' but here the wounds are open and the pain is raw. This is pure no holds barred stuff on Steve Earle's most hard rocking album and though there is restbite in the shape of the foot stomping 'Country girl', 'Regular guy' and the affectionate 'Hopeless Romantics' at the heart of this album is one of the most angry, passionate, gut wrenching songs of Steve Earle's career. The anti-death penalty 'Billy Austin' floors you with brutal honesty and then appeals to you with it's humanity and is one of the most moving songs you will ever hear. 'Promise You Anything' is another highlight and one of those songs that creeps up on you after a few listens and is a heartfelt apology to his sister for promising the world and failing to deliver. Perhaps most moving of all is 'Have Mercy On Me' an anthemic, heartbreaking, down on bended knees statement with the brilliant payoff
"God knows mercy ain't free, have mercy on me", and that one line perhaps sums up the desperation that flows through the blood, sweat and many tears that make up 'The Hard Way', a deeply flawed but classic album from a man broken, beaten, going down fast but going down fighting and not willing to give up on life and the people he loves. And maybe thats what makes this such an uplifting album despite it all. Like Steve sings on the opening track 'The Other Kind' "There are those who break and bend, I'm the Other Kind" and the rousing quality that pervades on that track makes you feel that no matter how hard life knocks you down you can find it within you to bounce back. And the rousing intensity of 'The Hard Way' is testament to that.
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on 20 June 2005
If my reckoning is correct, this is the last work SE engaged in before taking off for his 'holiday in the ghetto' ...and it shows. Some of the songs may not be his strongest and the production wavers, but for sheer depth of feeling and a commentary on what it feels like to be down - really down - this one really is the business. A voice, cracked and ravaged by abuse reaches out to you and grabs your attention by still hitting bull's eyes on social commentary, loss, pain and regret. He may have been going down, but even here there are glimmers of redemption from one of the great survivors. If you're ploughing his back catalogue you overlook this one at your peril. Standout songs: Billy Austin, Have Mercy, Close Your Eyes.
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on 28 November 2015
Just as good as I remembered.
Stand out tracks are Billy Austin and Justice in Ontario........ For me..... Yours will probably be others.
One of the greatest below the radar artists of the last 25 years.
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on 12 September 2002
in response to reading some mixed reviews i felt this album was a genuine steve earle record. at times it is dark and has a brooding feeling (steve had problems at this time) but moves on to really good uptempo tunes that makes a perfect balance. it,s not copperhead road pt2 and was never ment to be(closer to i feel alright)but it,s a real honest album that reflects what a real steve album is about. contrasting moods. this and train- a -comin are a must for earle fans and a great intro for anyone thinking of buying a first steve earle album. buy now!
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on 3 February 2017
All ok
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on 31 July 2016
Tip-top seller, great product, excellent price, extremely swift delivery, definitely recommended & will be using again..
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