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No Better Than This

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iTunes Review

John Mellencamp has been a thorn in the side of the music business for many years. He has mass appeal, but he courts it with suspicion. His 2010 release, No Better Than This, was recorded live, in mono, to an Ampex 601 tape recorder from the mid-‘50s, with a single microphone. The trick was to choose acoustically superior rooms to capture the magic for a small ensemble that includes drummer Jay Bellerose and guitarist Marc Ribot. So while on tour Mellencamp stopped off at Sun Studios in Memphis, the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia, and the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, where blues legend Robert Johnson is said to have recorded. “Save Some Time to Dream” is Mellencamp gently coaxing his audience into his reflective state of mind. “Right Behind Me” expresses the war between Jesus and the Devil inside him. “No One Cares About Me” is a tale of disenfranchisement with a splash of Sun Records haunting the track. Tunes such as “Coming Down the Road,” “Don’t Forget About Me” and “Each Day of Sorrow” are classic rock in the truest sense of the word.

Customer Reviews

One of his best

A great album, possibly one of his best ever right up there with lonesome jubilee, scarecrow, and big daddy. I find it alot better then Live Death Love and Freedom which was just too dark for me. Song writing and his flexibility in his voice makes this a must have.

Songs you must have: Save Some Time to Dream, Right Behind Me, Dont forget about Me, and Gracefull Fall

Best CD of the summer.

Back to mono and recorded in some historic places like Sun Studios and
the San Antonio hotel room where Robert Johnson recorded Crossroads.
I'm not ditching my iPod, but this title has to be available on vinyl for
the classic that it is. Mellencamp is filling the hole left by Cash.


What with On the Rural Route and this album, Mellencamp has released two of my favorites of the year. His rural, rootsy sound reminds me of growing up in a small town in Kentucky. Heck, Mellencamp was just over the line in Indiana. He was a young punk when I was a younger punk. These days, we have both aged. I turned 40 this year. He has aged gracefully, his music has matured. The fact that I love his songs more now than I did when I was 12 or 13 is testimony to the chord he struck in our American soul. We have seen our reflection in his music. He has been repeating an American truth to us all these years, that we can all be somebody, whether we come from a big city or were born in a small town. Keep on rocking John. I, for one, will be listening.


Born: October 7, 1951 in Seymour, IN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Throughout his career, John Mellencamp has had to fight, whether it was for the right to record under his own name or for respect as an artist. Of course, he never made it easy on himself. Mellencamp began his career in the late '70s as a Bruce Springsteen clone called Johnny Cougar. As his career progressed, his music became more distinctive, developing into a Stonesy blend of hard rock and folk-rock. His musical development coincided with his growth in popularity -- by the time "Hurts So Good"...
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