Sunday, 10 March 2013

Desert Island Discs 39 August and Everything After by Counting Crows

39 August and Everything After by Counting Crows 1993

I really shouldn't like this it all. The kind of non descript American rock that normally has me switching for the off switch , the whiniest of vocals and released at a time when there were a plethora of stodgy rock bands that seemed to blend into each other.

However there was something a bit different about Counting Crows. They could do miserable and I do like miserable but they also have a great ear for a pop tune

Adam Duritz is also blessed with a clever turn of phrase. The songs switch between character based short stories and the autobiographical , often blending so you aren't sure which is which.

Although the detail is such that even the short stories seem like they come from something real (Mr Jones being a great case in point in that on one level it feel like a Carver short story when in fact it is about a close friend)

The catchy songs got them noticed but it is the slower more mellow affairs where the band really shine

Raining in Baltimore for me is the highlight. I've featured it before but it is worth a re listen. It captures to perfection that sense of helplessness that comes with a long distance love affair

Raining in Baltimore - Counting Crows

The lp suggests that Duritz's mind isn't somewhere very pleasant to hang out as you get the sense that he has lived this sadness and this realness makes this one of my favourite when I'm feeling low lps

you can buy the lp here


  1. I remember your surprising soft spot for Counting Crows. Their singles saturated the airwaves here so much that I was turned sour on this album. Not fair but you know how it goes. I've really got to give them a proper shot as they've received consistently good reviews. I've heard a couple of tunes from Desert Life that I like, and I never tire of hearing "A Long December" from the follow-up...

    THE RAINMAKERS: Flirting With The Universe (1994)

    Like several on my list... huge in Norway!!! Heartland American roots-rockers, distinquished by band leader Bob Walkenhorst's marmite yelp and wry, literate often provocative lyrics. Their 1986 debut album did well in Europe & Canada (but not the US) sparked by wonky but irresitible single "Let My People Go-Go" & the charming "Big Fat Blonde"...
    It was all downhill from there with the typical record company indifference/management bungles; but all of the releases are strong, maturing with each record. It's hard to pick a favorite but I'll go with 'Flirting' just because it was so good it bombed (except in Norway of course).

    When all is said and done, it might be be just me, my buddy Eric and a bunch of Scandanavians that love this band...

    I'll just suggest a listen to the warm & sensitive "Big Fat Blonde" or "Let My People Go-Go" which sounds a bit like an demented Waterboys number. Bound to lighten your heart...

    Big Fat Blonde:
    Let My People Go-Go:
    You Remind Me Of Someone (live):
    View From The Tower (live):
    Another Guitar:
    Spend It On Love:

  2. I played August to death when it came out.
    I was sure that it would feature on my list so I played it recently. Maybe I'm too familiar with it but found Adam's previously addictive bawl a bit of a bleating whine. I still love the slower songs; my mate Gregg and I nearly got into a punch up with two girls sitting in front of us (Shepherds Bush again) who loved the rockers but talked all the way through the quiet moments. Had a similar experience at a Ray LaMontiagne gig and he's all quiet moments.

  3. There is an idea for a theme. Bands you wished had a different singer.

  4. That's a good call
    Travis and radiohead

  5. This album was huge in Israel too. At the time of it's release I was living on a kibbutz and it seemed all the soldiers on returning home for their Shabbas leave would have to put this on and turn the volume up to 11. Not that I dislike the album ,it's OK, just wish it wasn't forced down my throat!
    # 39 and I make a rare venture 'over the pond'with 10000 Maniacs - In My Tribe. I'm not much of a fan of their albums before or after In My Tribe and Blind Mans Zoo, but for those 2 albums they got it just right .Not quite folk, not quite pop, but quite spendid.

  6. I think in the uk it was only moderately successful so didn't suffer form overkill. AS I said it is a strange one as I can think of loads of reasons why I shouldn't like it.
    In my tribe is a good call although my fav song by them was Trouble me. The unplugged lp is pretty good although a bit of a worthless exercise!

  7. I prefer Mrs Simon's solo stuff.
    There's a double of children's songs 'Leave Your Sleep' which is a fine thing...


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